Friday, September 15, 2017

Unboxing: Battle Systems Sci-fi II Terrain (Kickstarter)

Another of my kickstarters came in this week. Last week it was Battlestations II, and now (and not to be confused) Battle Systems II, which I completely forgot about.

I shouldn't have forgotten it, as I kickstarted it (one of 1,104 people worldwide) in November 2016..... turnaround of 10 months is not bad, not bad for kickstarter.

Battle Systems is pre-painted (or should I say pre-printed) sci-fi terrain in 28mm. Sci-fi terrain in cardstock.. a blessing for those of us who don't have time to paint everything.

This will come in very handy for planned Shadow War and Necromunda battles coming up, among other settings. 

I also have an additional set of tiles that must have been my stretch goal.

The box is heavier than I imagined for cardboard...

When I opened it up, the very first thing I spot was a very nice mousepad-like terrain mat..

Some brief instructions on maintenance of these things..

And tons of cardboard terrain pieces, that explain how heavy this box was.

The dullest carboard pieces, but the most important, are the joints..

but the rest are the goodies just waiting to be popped out and clipped for battle.

Galactic consoles

Frontier consoles

 Two sets of equipment

Grav lift elevator

Galactic and Frontier doorways and airlocks.

Floor tiles

and Gantries, walls and railings.

I didn't see any instructions on how to assemble them. Perhaps they are on the company website, or it's intuitive.

Anyways, nice to see my kickstarters come in.  This is a welcome addition for a terrain junkie like myself.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Unboxing: Battlestations II (Second Edition) (Kickstarter)

My March 2016 Kickstarter of the second edition of Battlestations by Gorilla Games finally came in today, along with my stretch goal, a box of minis.

Battlestations, in case you don't know, to quote Boardgamegeek:

... is a tabletop starship simulator – a multi-map board game that simultaneously features ship-action in space AND the events on board the ships involved in the conflicts. It is also a roleplaying game in which your characters grow throughout campaigns, picking up experience points, upgrades, and new abilities.

The game rules are very simple but they allow for complex RPG-like imaginative choices like teleporting to an enemy ship, hacking their helm controls and steering their ship towards a black hole before ejecting yourself out the air lock. Inside the box is an infinity of alien worlds to explore, rickety spacecrafts to upgrade, and a rowdy crew of lifelong comrades to adventure with.
One player takes on the role of "the enemy", and works against the other players who are cooperating with each other.

The original game if I remember correctly, had 15mm minis, but the new kickstarter had it in 28mm, so I jumped in and got it.  Space battles *and* land based miniatures? How can you go wrong. 

The second edition box seems a lot bigger than the first edition, which is natural I suppose since it's been scaled up, but also a lot heavier than the first box. 

Rules are nice and glossy.. 

 and apart from a couple of pages of rules..

it seems to be composed of a ton of scenarios, which I imagine, form an "rpg" campaign. 

The game's weight seems to come from a ton of counters and tiles.. I don't recall ever seeing counters and tiles stacked so thick before. 

It is composed of the usual game counters

map tiles done very prettily I might add..

and good old fashion space map tiles for the space battles. 

There are the usual dice, cards, character sheet and meeples of course..

and the minis are in that soft plastic boardgame style, which is good enough I imagine... 

The gallant heroes I suppose..

The creatures look strange and plentiful..

This robot is retro cool enough that I am tempted to paint it just to see how well I can do the reflection of it's egg-like glass head. 

The stretch goal extras I got were more of the same..

I was a bit disappointed at first to find only 1 ship mini.. I was not sure how you can have space combat with only 1 mini, so I corresponded with the game designer through Kickstarter..

and sure enough, he told me to look again as he got the same query from two others. I looked hard again, a full five minutes through my minis and found it.. Very strange I missed it like that.

I see that ship stats are linked to a tile...

Anyways, the game looks intriguing but we'll see how it fares. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Playing Star Trek: Ascendancy with old friends like it was 1985 all over again

These last couple of years, my friend Craig has been visiting my friend Jim and I from out of town on Labour Day weekend, a once a year happening only.

The three of us over 30 years ago were avid players of FASA's Star Trek RPG and were well immersed in the pre-Next Generation Star Trek universe. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan made a great impression on us as teenagers. So naturally with Craig in town, we decided to play Star Trek: Ascendancy by Gale Force Nine.

What is commendable is that Craig immediately played after driving for nearly 6 hours straight to come see us on Saturday afternoon.

We were actually supposed to play Ascendancy with Craig the previous Labour Day, but it came out, despite promises to the contrary, days after Labour Day last year, so we played Star Trek: Attack Wing with him instead last year.

Jim and I have played Ascendancy with other friends since then, but the funny thing is, we kept telling ourselves since last year's Labour Day that when we'll play with Craig this year, we'll add the Ferengi and Cardassian expansions to make up for last year's lost opportunity. Well, after months and months of delays, the expansions for these two hit the store shelves literally at the last minute, on Friday night, at least here in Toronto, less than 24 hours before Craig was to arrive in our fair city.

So, we just barely got the expansions in line with the core game to play Ascendancy with him for the first time. Very strange timing for both years.

None of us played the Ferengi nor the Cardassians, but we did use their planetary tiles, which was what we wanted all along for the variety.

I played the Romulans, Craig the Klingons and Jim the UFP.

I won't elaborate too much on game play, as I have done it elsewhere (such as here, for example).

What I enjoyed about the game with Craig and Jim, was that got into our old routine, and there were times playing we lapsed back into the world view and terminology of the old FASA Star Trek universe. Craig and I are big fans of the John M. Ford Klingons, who were a big part of the FASA Star Trek universe. (I talked about John M. Ford's Klingons in an earlier post.)
We used terms easily like we were 15 years old again.. Craig for instance, didn't like the game's terms for the Klingon home world, Kronus (or whatever it is now called), but called it the old FASA term,  Klinzhai.

But we ribbed each other with other old FASAisms like:

federazhon - United Federation of Planets
komerex zha - the perpetual game
kuve - servitor or slave
straave, straav' - slave
tokhe straav' - willing slave - worst insult one can call a Klingon

to add to the game play, which has enjoyable mechanics that don't feel bolted on.

The map got filled up as this game is wont to do quickly.

Poor Jim kept running into space hazards like nebulas and pulsars, not getting too many resources in the process. What he did was research a lot, while Craig and I focused on quantity, as were getting resources to build vast cheap fleets, all the while hypocritically and tongue-in-cheek ribbing Jim for his Federazhon's aggression and threatening moves that risked galactic war.  All in good fun of course, like it was 1985 again, and we were RPGing a FASA Star Trek session.

On top of that, the three of us kept cracking jokes, such as for instance, offering to jokingly sell Horta meat and eggs as part of our trade deals. When I encountered the Horta, I jokingly screamed "NO KILL I" at Jim and Craig, as well.

And to unnerve the other two players and make a joke, I played on my smart phone Kirk's "risk" speech and blared Uhura's "Beyond Antares" song when Jim, as the UFP, discovered new planets.

We were a bunch of old guys reliving the good old days as it were, when we were teenagers in the early 80s, a time when we really loved Star Trek and the old FASA Star Trek RPG universe.

Anyways, both Craig and I were determined to attack Jim as he was getting close to winning with 5 Ascendancy points. Craig fired the opening shots of the war, attacking Jim at Bajor..

and I lunged deep into Federazhon space taking over the planet Kurl..

However, Jim was building up a sizable tech advantage in shields and he counter-attacked, forcing me to retreat..

Craig and I realized our attacks on Jim were uncoordinated, and after Jim sent me reeling, Craig was too far away to help and thus, Jim got his 5 Ascendancy stars and won.

That's okay though.. It was nice to immerse myself with my original teenage gang in our original setting, the Star Trek universe, making it the FASA Star Trek universe, at least verbally when we played.

An enjoyable time was had by all, and I hope we can keep the three of us this tradition at next year's Labour Day.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

My workbench: More industrial terrain built and painted

I recently painted up some industrial terrain (as discussed here). I don't have the energy just yet for GW's complex Shadow War terrain, so I'm just sticking with the quick wins and continuing on with some more easy terrain..

Speaking of Shadow War, I hear Necromunda is coming back (and the new Star Wars miniature game Legion), so that is a plus with all this terrain I'm building.

I was not going to go crazy on the paint job just like last time, but just continue do something good enough for the tabletop. Industrial terrain, I hate to say it, is boring to paint and I can't get enthused about pipe-fittings and such. However, if one wants to play Shadow War and Necromunda, it's gotta be done.

Last time, I built up Laser Cut Architect's Iron Gulch building #2, so now I built up their building # 1 and sci-fi ish diner.

Assembling was pretty easy for the most part..

However, I did not glue the metal-ribbed something or other to the building for now as I don't really like it..

and I did not glue the Diner sign to the building as it might not be appropriate for things like Star Wars or Necromunda.. However, I will use it for post-apoc..

I was not paying attention reading the directions and accidentally glued the opening to put the back ladder in the front part of the building, but it still works.

Like last time, I copied the paint job from the company's website and painted the buildings a metallic rusting look. These buildings can be used from modern to far future..

For the rest of the pieces painted, I decided to go with a light blue theme because why-the-hell-not as I never painted up blue terrain before, and sci fi is the only avenue I can do so.

I continued on with the metallic rusty look on  sci-fi processing plant buildings from Micro Arts Studios, with a touch of blue..

I could have went crazy with these pieces, and made this an intricate paint job, but I just couldn't generate any enthusiasm into painting a processing plant and kept with the simple dirty rusting look.

So, now I have the outlines of a metallic district of sci fi buildings, perhaps in a dirty part of town or a ramshackle colony..

Continuing on with blue-themed terrain, this time I wanted to paint clean; give it that whole utopia look and all that.

I bought this landing pad in mdf from ebay. It came in the mail, but there were no instructions, just pieces.

I just had to go with this ebay picture to figure out what to do..

 It looked like the legs of this thing was a series of smaller and smaller pieces glued I organized them from smallest to biggest first and put them on the legs..

However, like I always do with mdf, my stubby fingers broke off one of the supports by accident..

So now, at least one side was not going to have the landing pad extensions (circled in red)

I decided to cut off the other three extensions, as I thought to hell with it, the landing pad can do without it.

I painted it up in blue with some landing lights colour in the middle using inks..

Continuing on with the clean blue sci fi theme, I had these Micro Arts studio battlefield hardfoam small city highground pieces..

I am not sure what they are, but maybe LOS blockers for playing in cyberpunk type cities.
The top part has a hexagram pattern, so I thought, maybe it's light from an energy source. So, I put on blue primer with grey on top, followed by yellow inks for the top part to show "light" from the hexagon roof..

Lastly, I had this Micro Arts Taucity habitat that I painted in various shades of blue..

I now have 4 pieces of clean blue themed sci-fi terrain, as well..

For now, I'm done with my dirty and clean blue-themed experiment, and with sci-fi terrain at the moment. Will work on some fantasy next, for a change.