Sunday, 3 February 2019

Robotech Rules

Progress has been made on both the Zentraedi and the UNDF forces. Slow progress to be sure, but progress. Not knowing anybody else who plays locally has meant there wasn't that pressure to get a force fully painted, and it's been easy to let it slide.

Slightly blurry photo of the overall state of things

The Zentraedi, fully assembled with with main colour

UNDF. Destroids well on the way, fighter and guardian modes in progress, battleoid modes not started yet

None the less both armies are taking shape, and I'm also working on some 6mm scale scenery. I previously had a decent set of Epic terrain, but most of this had to be given away when I moved. So the hills and woods I'll have to make new ones Hopefully I should still have the buildings for Sixmillopolis, which will be perfect - giant robots always need a city to stomp.

Another area I've been working on is rules. As mentioned in the previous post my intent is to use these models with the Epic: Armageddon rules, which means working out some stats and army lists. Here is what I have at a first pass at some Zentraedi unit stats.

Unit Type Speed Armour CC FF Weapon Range Firepower Notes
Tactical Battlepod WE 25cm 4+ 5+ 3+ 2 x Particle Cannons 45cm AT3+ DC2, Jump Packs, Fearless, Reinforced Armour
Dual Light Autocannon 30cm AP5+ / AT6+
Light Artillery Battlepod WE 25cm 4+ 5+ 3+ 2 x Particle Cannons 45cm AT3+ DC2, Jump Packs, Fearless, Reinforced Armour
Dual Light Autocannon 30cm AP5+ / AT6+
Light Missile Launcher 45cm 1 BP
Heavy Artillery Battlepod WE 25cm 4+ 5+ 3+ 2 x Particle Cannons 45cm AT3+ DC2, Jump Packs, Fearless, Reinforced Armour
Dual Light Autocannon 30cm AP5+ / AT6+
Heavy Missile Launcher 60cm 1 BP Disrupt, Slow Firing
Assault Cannon Battlepod WE 25cm 4+ 5+ 3+ 2 x Particle Cannons 45cm AT3+ DC2, Jump Packs, Fearless, Reinforced Armour
Dual Light Autocannon 30cm AP5+ / AT6+
2 x Heavy Particle Cannons 60cm MW4+
Officers Battlepod WE 25cm 4+ 4+ 3+ Heavy Particle Cannon 60cm MW4+ DC3, Jump Packs, Fearless, Reinforced Armour
2 x Medium Railguns 45cm AP4+ / AT4+
2 x Particle Cannon 45cm AT2+
Dual Light Autocannon 30cm AP5+ / AT6+
Scout Battlepod WE 25cm 4+ 6+ - DC2, Jump Packs, Fearless, Reinforced Armour, Sensor Suite, ECM Suite
Recovery Drone WE 30cm 4+ 4+ - DC4, Skimmer, Fearless, Reinforced Armour, Salvage

In terms of points cost, my initial thought is that the basic Tactical Battlepod is in many ways similar to 2 Leman Russ tanks. It's got a 4+ reinforced armour save and can take 2 hits (same as two Russ), but is also Fearless and still has two shots when it's taken a hit. Mobility wise it's slightly faster and and avoid terrain, so again modest advantage to the battlepod. Weapons fit is similar but slightly inferior - shorter range, slightly better AT, worse AP. Leman Russ tanks are 650 for a company of 10 in the Imperial Guard list (i.e. at Initiative 2+ with no special rules), so that's 65 points a tank, or 130 for a pair.

On the basis of that comparison, I'm going to start playesting with the following first pass values;
  • Formation of 3 Tactical Battlepods for 450 points.
  • Formation of 2 Tactical Battlepods for 350 points.
  • Formation of a single Tactical Battlepod for 200 points.
(The reason for the increasing cost in smaller formations is that having more formations is an advantage in Epic.)

My inclination at the moment is to distinguish core formations and support formations, with up to 2 support formations allowed per core formation chosen. The 3 battlepod formation would be core, the individual battlepod formation support, and I'm undecided about the 2 battlepod formation. 

The heavy weapons battlepods and officers battlepod and I haven't really thought through in detail yet. The unit profiles I'm comfortable with, but still open to changing if somebody has a good argument. In particular I really couldn't decide whether to give the missile artillery pods the Indirect rule or not. Points cost will be higher than standard battlepods, it's just a matter of by how much. 

The scout pod and recovery drone are even less defined than the heavy weapons and officer. I've listed a couple of special rules under each, but these aren't defined yet. Since these units literally don't carry any weapons, they are going to need some kind of reasonably useful special rules to make them worth fielding, so I've slapped a couple of appropriate sounding rule-names in as placeholders.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Latest Project - Robotech Tactics

I've mentioned before that it's good to have a fellow gamer brother, because he always comes up with great gift ideas. And this Christmas that would be Robotech Tactics.

Having only vaguely heard about this game before receiving the core box, my first response was to do a bit of googling about it. It turns out this game has had a bit of a troubled development - Kickstarter pledges not honoured, only the second wave of models released out of several planned, and ultimately loss of the Robotech licence meaning the game is no longer in production. All of which won't be too surprising to anybody who knows a bit of Palladium's history - they have a track record of being not a great company to deal with.

But there's nothing to be done about any of that. Fingers crossed that some other company picks up the licence and production designs, but for now I'm just going to enjoy the stuff I have. The core box comes with;

  • 5 Veritech fighters, with a model for each of their fighter, guardian, and battloid modes
  • 2 Tomahawk destroids
  • 2 Defender destroids
  • 12 Zentraedi battlepods
  • 1 Zentraedi officer pod
  • 1 Zentraedi recon pod
  • 1 Zentraedi recovery pod
There is some criticism online that the models are somewhat fiddly to assemble. Which is true, but some reports are exaggerated - they aren't beginner models, but they're also not the hardest models I've ever had to assemble by any stretch. (Although that said I haven't started assembling the Veritechs yet, which are supposed to be the worst).

To begin with I've started on the Zentraedi, which are all assembled, and I have a couple of prototypes base-coated to try out a colour scheme. I've gone with something a little different from the TV show, an overall dark red with black/gray panels.

Works in progress (still need to be washed, highlighted, and based), but enough to demonstrate how the colours will look. And overall I'm happy with it. Non-standard, but still has a nice villainous look to it. And it also has the advantage that I own some spaceship models in a similar colour scheme which I think would fit in well-enough as Zentraedi ships.

Which is a nice segue into my next comment. Unfortunately the Robotech Tactics rules don't include spacecraft, or conventional infantry/armour/artillery. It has nothing but the mechs. But luckily my favourite wargame of all time is also at 6mm scale, so these models will be perfect for adapting to it - Epic:Armageddon. The Robotech Tactics native rules have gotten very middling reviews online anyway, so I may or may not even bother to give them a go. Instead the plan is to come up with some Epic unit stats and army list, and go from there.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Fire for Effect!

One unfortunate omission from Team Yankee is the lack of towed artillery. Despite the existence of mechanised artillery, towed guns remain an important element of armies worldwide. But for whatever reason Battlefront has stubbornly refused to include them. Which was particularly annoying for me, since the only artillery available to a purely NZ force would be the L118 Light Gun (same applies to Australia as well I believe).

Now yes, I could take allied formations and include British or American self-propelled guns. But I don't want to do that. I want to use New Zealands own forces - specifically, a battery from 16 Field Artillery.

Fine. Battlefront aren't the only miniature company in the world. After a bit of googling I found that Old Glory Miniatures does a 15mm scale L118 Light Gun. They come in packs of three guns, so I ordered two in order to have enough for a four gun battery. I will definitely recommend these. The gun and crew are metal, high quality with good attention to detail. There was a little bit of flash needed to be removed, but not much.

Scale wise the gun crew match quite well with BF infantry, with no noticeable difference in size. Once painted up and based they fit in perfectly with the official Team Yankee models.

Next step is to come up with some (unofficial of course) stats and rules. But this shouldn't be too hard - I figure on using the Abbot as a starting point for the weapon, and FoW already has rules for towed guns.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Kia Kaha! - Anzacs for Team Yankee

My latest project is a bit of a change from previous... an Anzac force for Team Yankee.

Team Yankee is modern (OK, 1980's - that's "modern" for me because I'm old enough to have been alive then) wargaming using a version of the Flames of War rules. A few months ago BF released the Free Nations army book, covering the French, Dutch, Canadians, and Anzacs. Now oddly enough I actually purchased the models for this army well before the official rules/figures were available. The idea of an NZ force appealed to me (specifically, I wanted to do a company from QAMR), and I wasn't worried that there wasn't an official list available at the time. The FoW: Vietnam range included Anzac infantry, so a mix of these an some TY British vehicles gave me the models I needed.

Currently the force consists of;

1 HQ team in M577
2 x Mechanised Infantry Troops in M113s with T50 turret
2 x Scorpion recce tank Troops
2 x Leopard 1 MBT Troops
M125 Mortar Troop
Air Support from 2 A4K Skyhawks

This comes to about 50 points, and at the moment is organised as a single company with support options. My expansion plan would involve buying a few more Leopard 1s and splitting the force into two companies - a New Zealand mechanised infantry company of Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles, and an Australian armoured company from 1st Armoured Division.

The other expansion planned is the addition of a 4 gun battery of L118 light guns from New Zealand 16 Field Artillery. Now unfortunately BF has been stubbornly refusing to include towed artillery in Team Yankee. Well whatever, if they don't want my money somebody else can get it. In this case that would be Old Glory Miniatures. Models have been ordered, and hopefully once painted up and mounted on some BF large bases they should fit in nicely.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Armada Wave 3+ Speculation - Imperials Pt 1

With Wave 1 for SW Armada released I am now very eagerly awaiting Wave 2. I have designs on 3 of the Raider class, and I'll be getting an ISD because, well, it's just compulsory for Imperial players.

But while waiting, and in between actually playing the game, I've started speculating on what ships might be in Waves 3 and beyond. Armed with the link to Wookiepedia, here is first part of my musings. The order is largest ships first, with Pt 1 covering Imperial ships down to 600m. 

First Order Star Destroyer
Seen very briefly in trailer 2 for The Force Awakens, virtually nothing is known about this class. Even its size is unconfirmed. However if we assume that the spherical structure on top of the command tower is the same size as those on an ISD, then this vessel appears to be of similar size or perhaps slightly larger, and hence I have put this ship at the top of this list.

If the above size estimate is correct this ship would be on a large base and command 3. Hull and shields would presumably be similar to those on an ISD.

Tector Class
The Tector class is canonical, but almost nothing is known about it. It appears very briefly in RotJ in a shot of the Millenium Falcon flying along the ventral hull of a ship which looks virtually identical to the Imperial class except lacking the hangars and reactor bulb. The upper hull of the Tector class has never been seen. The easiest option for FFG would be to stick with the prevailing fan assumption that the upper hull is the same as the Imperial class, and just redo the lower hull to fit. Making changes to the upper hull would be a bold move, and presumably require licencing approval, so I think this is unlikely. Could be potentially pretty cool if they did change it though - an ISD with a leaner, meaner superstructure.

Rules wise, it's reasonable to assume the Tector would be similar to the Imperial class. It would certainly be on a large base and command 3. The lack of ventral hangars would presumably mean a lower squadron value. It is described as having additional armour, which could be reflected in either more hull points and/or extra defense tokens.

Venator Class
First seen in Revenge of the Sith and later in The Clone Wars animated series. While this a prequel era ship, the final shot from RotS confirms that these vessels did continue to serve into the Imperial period. That plus the fact that it's just such a cool design and I think there is every chance we will see Venator's for Armada at some point.

The Venator class is of similar size to the Victory class (1100m versus 900m), so that is the best starting point for guessing its profile. It will presumably be a medium ship, with command 3. The Venator has more visible hangars, so a higher squadron value and Titles/Characters/Upgrades focused on fighters seem likely. Because having more hangars probably makes it not as tough as a VSD it might lose a point of hull or engineering.

Acclamator Class
Another canonical prequel era ship, the 750m Acclamator class falls exactly halfway in size between the Victory and Gladiator classes. My guess is it will be on a medium base - while it could potentially be on small base, the Gladiator class is already pretty large compared with other small base ships.

The Acclamator class is described as an "assault ship", designed to land army units on planets. If FFG ever intends to add either planetary assault missions or boarding rules to Armada, the Acclamator class would be an ideal ship to release at the same time. Based on its size it would have either 6 or 7 hull points; I'll guess 7, because an assault ship would be built tough. For shields I'll guess 3 front, 2 everywhere else. That would give it 9 total (cf. 10 total for a VSD and 8 total for a GSD) and it completely makes sense for an assault ship to need good shielding from all aspects. It's firepower is difficult to even guess at, except that it would be much less than a VSD. I'll speculate 3 dice on front and sides, in some mix of red and blue.

Interdictor Class
The Interdictor class (by which I mean the original Immobilizer 418 class, not other ships performing the same role) is a type that is well-established in the SW expanded universe, and it's a pretty cool looking design, so I expect FFG will produce one for Armada fairly early on. On the other hand it presents them with a challenge - how to incorporate its signature gravity well projectors into the game? They could just ignore them, but that would waste the most unique thing about the class. How well the rules for the gravity-projectors work could easily make or break this class, and I won't even speculate what they might be.

At 600m the Interdictor class is slightly longer than a GSD but slightly narrower (in most depictions, although this varies), so I'll guess at 5 hull and 2/2/2/1 shields. It would presumably be a small ship (although it might just sneak in as a medium), with command 2.

Dreadnaught Class
Another ship that is well-established in the expanded universe even if never seen canonically, the Dreadnaught class is supposed to be very common in the SW galaxy.

Although Dreadnaughts are the same length as the Interdictor, they are considerably more solidly built. I'm picking they're more likely to be on a medium base, but they could just sneak in on a small. Based on its size I would say command 2... however in-universe the Dreadnaught is supposed to have an extremely large crew for its size, which could mean command 3. Because its larger than the GSD I'll guess hull 6, but with the same 3/2/2/1 shields. For armament I'll guess four red/blue dice on the boardsides, 3 red front, 2 red rear.

So, that's my thoughts on possible large-medum Imperial ship releases. Next installment - Imperial ships smaller than 600m, plus fighters.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Gathering the Imperial Armada

The latest wargaming craze going through my social circle is Star Wars: Armada. Produced by Fantasy Flight Games (the same company that does the X-Wing miniatures games), Armada is an extremely polished game; high production values in the game components, pre-painted ship models, and excellent game design.

On Saturday afternoon I went around to Ben's place for a 400 point game. At this point we both had a couple of games under our belt, so we were starting to get the hang of at least the capital ship aspects. But until now we had only used the X-Wings and TIEs that came with the basic box. Since then Ben had acquired the Rebel and Imperial fighter boxes, so we could now play with the full range of fighter types available to us. Ben had gone for a fighter-centered strategy, taking the Assault Frigate Gallant Haven as his flagship, with 2 A-Wings, 2 Y-Wings (one of which was Dutch Vander), 3 X-Wings, and a B-Wing (Keyan Farlander), Supporting this carrier force he also had two Nebulon B's and a Corvette. Against this I had a Victory II star destroyer with Tarkin, two Gladiator II star destroyers (both with expanded launchers, one being Dominator), 8 basic TIES (one being Howlrunner), Sontir Fel in his TIE Interceptor, and two TIE Bombers (one being Rhymer).

With 2 less points in my fleet I had the initiative. I opted to be first player, and selected Precision Strike as the mission. I deployed my VSD in the center, flanked by the two GSDs. Ben deployed his Assault Frigate facing my VSD, flanked by his two Nebulon's and with the Corvette further out to my left.

For the first couple of turns the fleets slowly closed. Ben's A-wings charged forward and inflicted a point of damage each before one was swarmed by a pair of TIEs and the other was dispatched by Sontir Fel. Long range fire from Ben's fleet chipped away at the shields of my GSDs.

By turn three a massive dogfight had emerged in the middle. Ben had been slowly  advancing Gallant Home up the middle, with most of his fighters clustered around it to take advantage of it's "ignore first point of damage from each attack" rule. My TIEs had charged in regardless, and the combination of Howlrunner, Sontir Fel, and sheer numbers managed (initiatlly at least) hold their own despite the rebel's defensive advantage.

Also on turn three, the Gladiator's were finally in range to strike. With both having Expanded Launchers they had a brutal four black and two red dice attack at close range. On the left the unnamed GSD reduced a Nebulon-B to one hull point left, while Demolisher smashed down the full-strength shields of Gallant Home and inflicted a point of damage.

In turn four the game had become a brawl. My entire fleet, Gallant Home, and one of Ben's Nebulon's were all crowded in the center, surrounded by the ongoing fighter clash. This should have been perfect conditions for the GSDs. But sadly they had been too badly battered during the approach, with both having virtually no shields remaining. Neither survived the turn.

At the start of turn five I was left with my virtually undamaged Victory against all of Ben's fleet. While I managed to finish off the crippled Nebulon-B it was still three to one, and by the end of the turn the VSD was destroyed.

So a very fun game. Having the full range of fighter types available makes the fight battle vastly more interesting. Ben used Gallant Home very well, shepharding his fighters until they were within striking distance of my ships. My TIE counterattack worked reasonably well (Ben's fighters only got about 3-4 attacks against me all game) but I largely wasted my Bombers, holding them back all game instead of moving up to attack.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Current Projects

Most of the time I have multiple gaming projects on the go at once. Impulse purchases result in many models that can sit around for years before a random burst of enthusiasm means they finally get painted. The projects that I have had the most enthusiasm for lately have all been 28mm sci-fi.

First, a Terminator with Thunder Hammer, which I had previously blogged about. These were a TradeMe purchase that came already painted, but a couple of days soaking in Simple Green followed by a good scrub with an old toothbrush got it back to bare metal. It is now painted up in Red Hammer chapter colours.

Next up were an OpForce to face the Red Hammers, in this case some Dark Eldar warriors. These are mostly done, just a bit more drybrushing and some details left to paint.

Lastly, my Teratons for Dreadball. I've done 6 of the 8 starting team members. Painting the last two really should be my next priority, but as I have two gaps on my roster due to casualties I can afford to let this slip for a couple of weeks. But I have finished another Dreadball related model - an alternative ref-bot. I'm not a fan of the ref-bot that comes with the game, so instead I've painted up a floating ref-drone.

My main priority for the next little while will be finishing the Dark Eldar and last two Teratons. Beyond that I'm not sure. One or two stormbolter Terminators is a possibility. But the main game that seems to be being played locally is Infinity. Space Marine models could be used for this, but they don't really suit the aesthetic. The Dark Eldar on the other hand fit in nicely, so I might use what I have as a starting point and pick up some Infinity models to round it out to a full size force (they have some very cool looking quadruped drones...).