Saturday, July 22, 2017

Battlestar Galactica starfighter combat using X-Wing rules

My friend Jim and I must be part of the extremely rare group of people on the planet who's very very first X-Wing: the Miniatures game battle was not in the Star Wars universe. We're probably the only ones ever to have their very first X-Wing game not only not be in the Star Wars universe, but in the original series mind you, not the new reboot, of the Battlestar Galactica universe.

You know, the really cheesy one from the late 70s starring Lorne Greene. It was cheesy back then when I was a kid, but I did not realize how cheesy it was until I recently saw it again. It is soooo bad, it's good.

I have plenty of Star Wars X-Wing miniatures mind you, but just wanted to change things up a bit.

I suspect also it's because over 30 years ago, for one reason or another, I never could get my hands on the FASA Battlestar Galactica starfighter game. It was from the same guys who did the Star Trek Starship Combat Game, which I loved, so perhaps this was my chance to get it out of my system.

But I digress. 

Jim and I are familiar with the flight path system as we've played Star Trek Attack Wing, and recently, Sails of Glory, before. 

Like I did with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, I ordered some 3D Printed X-Wing sized ships (1/270) from Shapeways last year, and I only recently did a quick paint job on them in anticipation of my friend Jim coming over today.

I also copied the stats for the X-Wing fighter (Red Squadron) to the Colonial Viper, and the no-shields plain Tie Fighter for the Cylon Raider. I also used the stats for Wedge Antilles for Captain Apollo and an elite Tie fighter pilot for the Golden Command Centurion.

A quick and easy paint program to change the pictures, and voila, I got their stats cards and printed them out in colour.

In the original series, the Cylon raiders seemed easily destroyed, so it was easy for me to use the stats for the Tie Fighter, which seems equally flimsy with no shields. 

We had a simple 102 point each game facing off each other, and used a derelict space station in the middle as a navigation hazard. My 8 ships vs his 5.

We met in the middle, and my squad broke off in two to envelope the pesky humans..

On both the left

and the right,

I charged at the organic life forms known as humans..

On the left, my ships jammed up and it took awhile from all that dog fighting to get sorted out..

While on the right, there were lots of Crazy Ivan maneuvers on both sides, with accompanying stress on our engines, and somehow there was more space between us..

We twisted and turned, and at point blank sometimes, we let each other have it. Barrel rolls, evasives, etc.. Still, Jim's Colonial Vipers, using X-Wing stats, had shields, while my Cylon Raiders, like the Tie fighters, didn't, and the pounding I would get seemed harder than me just blowing down Jim's shields.

I tried to hammer time and time again Captain Apollo, but Jim managed to eke out adequate defence rolls every time.

On the right, I chased Captain Apollo.. to quote Khan from Star Trek, I chased him " round the moons of Nibia and round the Antares maelstrom and round perdition's flames".. 

Okay, okay, maybe not that far... but I chased him so much so that the battle on the right, which started on my side, then flipped over and went full tilt on on the other side, toward Jim's side..

On the left, I took a gamble that one of Jim's wounded Vipers would bank left, but I guessed wrong and he banked right...

So, a chase on the left as well, and now both left and right, we both dogpiled on to Jim's side..

I finally lost my gold Command Centurion, when he was caught between two of the Vipers, while some of my other guys were still coming over to Jim's side of the map, trailing.

Both Jim and I had heroic saves on our green defensive dice, so even though casualties on both sides piled up, as you can see in my Cylon Raider cemetery off to the side..

neither side broke off the attack, as we both still did Crazy Ivans and opened up at point blank, sometimes not making a scratch..

Of the thirteen ships, only 3 were left at the end, 1 Cylon Raider, 1 Viper and Captain Apollo in his Viper. Jim's Captain Apollo's Viper took 3 damage and had 1 hull point left. One more hit, and he would be destroyed.  Jim rightfully thought Apollo was a goner..

However, it came down to at the end to the fact that Jim's Captain Apollo got to fire first as he was the best pilot on the board..

Sure enough, like something out of the TV show, the heroic son of Adama, Captain Apollo, fired the lucky shot that destroyed my last raider, allowing his and the other viper, badly damaged, to go home.

Very TV episodic, Jim..


We also did a game 2, strictly Star Wars, and tried out the bigger ships, my Slave 1 vs the Millennial Falcon..

The battle was okay, but just 2 ships, however big, is not as fun as the 13 ship free-for-all we had just before.. though I did like using the Seismic Charges, for a win.

All in all, it was a good session and a good couple of centars, no matter how fecklegarb the day went for the frakkin' Toasters.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Is this movie supposed to be Shadowrun?

Shadowrun was an RPG from the good old days in the 1980s from FASA that mixed cyberpunk with elements of fantasy like Orcs and magic.  Very well known..

This new movie trailer, called Bright, starring Will Smith, sure looks like Shadowrun minus the near future setting. It's set in the modern world, but it has magic and fantasy races.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Painting the bombastic and pompous-looking Stormcast Eternals (my workbench)

Anyone into miniature wargaming has been familiar these last two years with what happened with Warhammer Fantasy. I sympathized with the people who loved GW's Old World even though I did not have a dog in the fight.

I generally liked the old Europe charm and Holy Roman Empire-ish setting of  Oldhammer as it is now called and could not fathom why GW pissed it all away by destroying it, only to replace it with this bizarre new setting, Age of Sigmar. 

Unending War.. guys in powered armour... endless expanse.. clearly, Age of Sigmar is 40K Fantasy.

They could have made fantasy more 40K ish, and changed from rank and file to skirmish without turning Oldammer into Alderaan, but GW chose otherwise.

Retcons and reboots are common in comics, TV etc, but apart from collecting comic books or say, reading a dozen novels, there is not too much investment when a show gives you retcon-rage. There is still anger though if you love the universe and such. You won't believe how much hate and rage I had in 1987-88 with Star Trek: The Next Generation retconning the Star Trek Universe, and my only investment was $200 in RPG books and 300 hours of RPGing. Now imagine ten times the investment. Wargames are very expensive in time and money, requiring  hundreds of hours of dedicated painting. It must be a bitter pill to swallow after putting in $2,000  and 2,000 hours of painting to see all your love being tossed away. 

Lots of people naturally were insanely angry at GW. The most polite simply railed against the Stormcast Eternals, with the blatant Space Marine look, and they've been called Sigmarines, Fetishammer, Golden Babies, etc.. You name it.  The other extreme was pure rage. We've all seen the video of the guy pouring gasoline on his painted armies and lighting them on fire.

For me, as I had no army but only a couple of the books and a cherished copy of the original Warhammer RPG, it was the new lore that made me shake my head.  Indeed, I posted a response on YouTube that best describes my views on Age of Sigmar.

I didn't get the new lore.. there are 8 dimensions or something, and you Stargate to each of them, to fight battles..  Sigmar was floating in space and some dragon picked him up and showed him how to rebuild the world in these dimensions.

Uh, okay..

Plus, no one could explain to me (and still can't for some questions), what the difference was between the Great Horned Rat and Nurgle, how did all the races and some heroes come back from Oldhammer if it was destroyed, why no one leaves a garrison around each of these Stargates (called "Realm Gates") to prevent their use..

What else.. the blatant copyright protection.. the Elves are now the Aelves, Giants are Gargants (lol :-)), the Orcs are Orruks (?!.. lol), the Dwarves are.. I can't even remember their new name..

My head shaked when I heard that the Stormcast can't die but they come back and that Sigmar is on one of the dimensions called Azyr floating in some sort of space station.

Also, there was something about the setting that was off-putting.. the shift away from classical Tolkien-esque fantasy set against a backdrop of this twisted Holy Roman Empire to this really over-the-top epic high fantasy. It is now a setting where the focus is less on thieves, the common soldier, the cobbler, the mercenary earning an honest coin or two, the back alley cut-throat, to this EPIC, HEROIC, AMAZING, DEMI-GODS BATTLING FOR ALL ETERNITY ACROSS TIME AND SPACE.

All of a sudden, reading the lore, I felt my age. It seems that GW was targeting the new Warhammer for 13 year old boys into comic books and cartoons. History lovers like myself need not apply. For someone that liked say, Mordheim, this over-the-top EPIC FANTASY was not doing it for me.

More importantly, I heard about the ridiculous rules like talking to your minis and such, and that there were no points to balance play, etc...

No points!?

It was bad enough about blowing up the world to replace it with cartoon fantasy, bad enough that the rules were condensed to 4 pages, but many gamers from what I heard, were absolutely livid with the dumb rules.

Here are some examples of the dumb rules:

Even the most stereotypical 35 year old Blue Pill low-testosterone soy-eating neckbeard Beta Male gamer who has never kissed a girl and has been playing for 20 years is going to balk at doing these stupid things in a match. It seemed that GW had contempt for their own customers and wanted them to act like idiots, on top of already suffering the stigma of "playing with toy soldiers." Many took the dumb rules as an insult to their intelligence coming from a company that told it's shareholders they were not a gaming company but a modelling company.

So I held off buying, and so did a lot of people it seems.  The rules were equated with retards playing, and I've seen this meme floating around these last two years.

Slowly but surely though, for whatever reason, GW must have had their road to Damascus as they got a new CEO these last two years, starting reaching out to fans (gasp!) and turned things around for Age of Sigmar by introducing points in their General's Handbook and adding tons of stats for old and new sculpts in what are called Warscrolls.  Some complexity was added to the rules indirectly through the Warscrolls with individual unit powers. They also mercifully dropped the dumb rules which were nauseating.

Also, the lore was starting to get fleshed out a bit. A GW store staffer clarified to me that no one came back from the Old World, only that Sigmar recreated the races from his memory, so they are "new" people. The Aelves are reconstructed new race from the memory of the old Elves. Humans are no longer called Bretonians and Empire, but are called the Free Peoples with 1000s of years of their own history and culture, spread out over 8 dimensions, each with huge lands.

Okay, I can make for such an allowance now that I get it.  Free peoples are still people, with gaming stats and tons of old painted sculpts that could be used. It thus doesn't have to be this over the top HIGH EPIC fantasy and could be tailored to the grittiness in the style of the old world in one battle, alongside HIGH EPIC fantasy in the next given the different dimensions and expanse. The slimy Skaven are back, and from what I understand, could tunnel though the stargate system magically and pop out anywhere.

I thus recently bought the core set of Sigmar two years after it's launch.

What impressed me was just how many miniatures come with the starter set.. 47!

Yes, 47!

I don't know what has come over GW lately, but 47 for $125 US was very reasonable for such high level sculpts.

I also bought some Stormcast kits and some individual heroes and decided to start with the good guys, even though I like to paint Chaos first.

Lots of assembling at first..

I assembled some Liberators with both hammers in both hands and some with a hammer and shield...

Honestly though, look at these guys..

I have made fun of the Sigmarines in the past, and I still found them pompous-looking even after I assembled them. I've compared their look before with the ridiculous armour seen in the movie Excalibur. These Stormcast Eternals have armored pecs and six-pack abs.. All that was missing were the nipples seen in the armour from Excalibur.

I assembled one with a great sword and one with a great hammer..

I assembled these flying Prosecutors, but held off attaching their wings until after painting their main bodies.

In terms of heroes....

A Lord-Celestant.. (what names!)..

A Knight-Vexillor..

 and a very Catholic-esque Lord-Relictor

These Sigmarines are like Demi-Gods, and in that armour, are quite tall compared to a normal 28mm miniature.

I stuck with the colour scheme from the box, mainly gold and blue..

Slowly but surely, these Sigmarines came to life..

Since the sculpts were very ostentatious, especially with the gold paint, I purposely made the base plain grey so the models can stand out.

The wings on these guys were large and very awkward once primed, glued, painted and placed...

27 minis later, I finally finished..

Broken down..

Liberators with hammer and shield

The Stormcast eternals were kind of easy to paint as there were no eyes, and few colours, but you had to be dead on in your painting of the reliefs on the shoulder pads and shields.  I suspect GW did this purposely, emulating the easy paint jobs of their Space Marines.

A unit of Liberators with 2 hammers.

A unit of Judicators.

A unit of Retributors

A Grand Hammer and Grand Sword.

The Prosecutors.. Their wings are going to make storing them very awkward, not only in terms of space requirements, but also the wings will snag on the storage foam, you just know it.

Of all the Sigmarines, these flying guys make me cringe the most. They evoke the image of medieval angels, which always makes me roll my eyes.

Very Wagnerian.. is there a fat lady nearby to sing of their opera deeds...

 The Knight-Vexillor

The Lord-Relictor

The Lord-Celestant

At the end, I was sick of the colour gold to be honest, and did not want to paint anymore. I did buy two upgrade packs for possibly future paintjobs in different colours, but we'll see.

I want to get cracking on the Chaos side, as they seem more fun and less pretentious than these Stormcast Eternals..

And there you have it.. I've gone Full Sigmar. Forgive me..

Let's see how long it will hold my attention.