Friday, 27 May 2016

Dragon Fight - Gold Rush - Scenario

Dragon Fight - Gold Rush!

I have been playing a 1990's PC game Drakan - Order of the Flame recently and it got me thinking about Dragon Fight again. But until I get a load of mountain scenery, catapults, Crow Dragons and Wartoks, this will have to do...

Dragon Fight - Gold Rush, or the Treasure of Skegness is a scenario seed for Dragon Fight! 
It borrows a scenario from the Pirates of the Spanish Main CSG game. 

Skegness, the greatest Dragon of the realm has been robbed by mannish adventurers and her golden hoard scattered! As an up-and-coming greatest Dragon, this is your opportunity to grab GOLD, show the other Dragons who's boss and earn some Prowess.

You will need:
  • At least three players, more is better;
  • A Playing area; a 6x4 table top should be fine.
  • One Dragon (or other Flier) for each player; Each Dragon should start with 20GP distributed between Strength, Agility and Combat. Each Dragon can also have up to 12 GP to spend on Prowess, Defence or Breath Weapon/Special Attacks.
  • Each Dragon will need their own Lair; Each Lair is a scenic item, such as a cave mouth, ruined tower, mountain top, volcano or deep dark lake. Use your imagination. Lairs are chosen and located in Strength order, roll Strength Dice for each Dragon. Highest gets first choice. Might is Right! Lairs should be located around the perimeter of the Playing area. Roll 1D6 for each Lair, this is the height band each Lair is placed at. note the Height Band next to each Lair.
  • In the middle of the playing area is the Lair of Skegness. This should be suitably impressive. (Any one who has actually been to Skegness will know what to look for!)
  • Scattered around the Lair of Skegness are the bits of her Hoard. If you don't have piles of gold, items of magic or caskets of precious jewels handy, you can use dice instead. You will need two bits of treasure for each player. Players take it in turn to place Treasure on the Playing Area. (Alt. Scenery and Treasure could all be placed by a referee before hand.)
Each Dragon starts in their Lair. Use the Lair's HB when rolling for Precedence on the first turn.

The object of the game is to steal treasure and return it to your Lair. You can take treasure from the scattered bits of hoard, or try to steal it from another Dragon. You can not take Treasure from another Dragons Lair. They are well guarded and hidden even if the owning Dragon is away.

Dragon's pick up Treasure from the Ground by landing next to the item. They can attempt to take off again on the following round.

Dragons can carry upto their capacity of Treasure items. Note: A Strength D4 Dragon can carry one Item without penalty.

Dragon's can steal Treasure from each other by winning a round of combat. The winning Dragon can choose to take an item of Treasure rather than inflicting a wound. The robbed Dragon chooses which item is taken.

I would recommend that you do not play to the death! If a Dragon receives a fatal wound, they must drop half (rounded down) of any treasure they are carrying and flee back to their Lair until the next game.

The game is over when at least three quarters of the Treasure has been returned to a Lair.

Dragons earn one Victory Point for each piece of Treasure they return to their Lair.
Dragons earn one Victory Point for each round of Combat they win.

When the game finishes roll each Treasure dice and add up the total in each Dragon's possession. The Dragon with the highest total gets another Victory Point.

The Dragon with the most Victory Points gets possession of Skegness's Lair next game.

Have fun and play nice.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Breaking down Slammer's unit attributes.

As part of our project to reboot Star Force I am looking at adapting Slammer to the new setting. It would seem useful to look at Slammer to see how it works now and which bits will be useful in the new game.

Breaking down Slammer's unit attributes.

As written when you create a unit in Slammer you have a few choices which determine how the unit is played.
Picking a Unit's Troop Quality defines their Activation, To Hit Numbers and Close Combat Factors. 
Choosing their Armour determines the unit's Movement and Defence factors. This can lead to units looking rather samey.
If we can set the unit's individual attributes that gives us a bit more range for fine tuning.

Activation

Activation represents the unit's training, morale, initiative and willingness to fight. In Slammer basic, it is derived from the unit's 'Troop Quality'.
Normal range of 0-6 (for humans) reduced by attrition and modified by circumstance. If we separate Activation from Troop Quality it let's us field units with a high aggression or initiative without making them super soldiers too. It may also let us field a more defensive minded unit that is less inclined to rush into action.
As an option it may also be useful to let a unit recover Activation during a game.

Motivation (this needs a better term)

Troop Motivation should be a special case dependant on scenario or force rational. The following may be used in addition to the troop Quality Rating.

Motivation is an optional attribute that can affect the way a unit is played. 
There is a roleplaying element here intended to personalise a unit. Slammer has the following optional Motivation factors, others will be added.

Elite
Elite Troops believe that they are the best at what they do, (often with good cause). They try harder and will often do much better than would be expected of normal soldiers. Elite units are often innovative in their approach to warfare and may have unusual (and deadly) skills. 
When rolling for Activation for Elite, add the appropriate modifiers then move up one band to the next higher Activation level. 
Elite motivation may be combined with any troop quality rating, though Untrained Elite are fairly unlikely. 
The Shooting and Close Assault modifiers for Elite are cumulative with the team's quality rating.

Fanatic

Fanatics have a reckless disregard for personal safety in the service of The One True Cause. Fanatics may have lower levels of ability as they tend not to live long enough to learn from their mistakes. Also experience tends to erode fanaticism fairly quickly. They may be very single-minded in their pursuit of an objective.  
When activating Fanatics, they must take the most aggressive option available. 
The Activation modifier for Fanatics is used instead of the troop quality rating.

Warriors

Warriors are in it for the fight. Whatever the strategic objective might be, Warriors will try to match themselves against the enemy troops. Warriors will tend to close with the enemy and may have higher close combat factors. They may prefer close range or melee weapons. Alien races are frequently played as Warriors. The movie Predator is a good example. 
When activating a Warrior team, the team will usually prefer an option that moves them closer to an enemy unit. 
The Movement and Close Assault modifiers for Warriors are c
umulative with the team's quality rating.

Reluctant / Unwilling

These teams may have found themselves involved in a fight they consider none of their business, they may have been in one fight too many or lost too many friends and comrades, or they may be constrained by higher authority e.g. as Peace Keepers. They have little interest in the rights or wrongs of the situation. Their main goal is to stay alive and get the heck outta here! If fired on or pressed they will defend themselves and their comrades, but will not go out looking for trouble. 
When rolling for Activation for Reluctant, add the appropriate modifiers then move down one band to the next lower Activation level.

Steady

Long service career Soldiers. This represents strength in defence and a tendency to hold formation even when everything is going to heck around you, it also means Steady troops are less likely to get carried away with enthusiasm and go chasing off after the enemy. 

When rolling for Activation for Steady, after adding dice and modifiers shift the Activation Level up or down one level towards 7 Advance.


Movement Distance

An infantry element's basic move distance is dependent on the equipment carried or armour worn by the figures in the unit. This may be reduced in difficult terrain, or if a figure attempts a particular action such as running, opening a door, taking cover or entering or leaving a vehicle. 
Movement adjustments due to troop quality are handled by the Action Table. Better quality troops will tend to make advance or close moves more often than poorer troops.

At first sight movement distances may seem overlong, but bear in mind that unless the unit has a high Activation level they will be making half-moves most of the time.

ArmourMoveNotes
None10"Civilians and figures in normal clothing. *
Light8"Ballistic cloth, flak jacket & helmet; Military and Police uniform.
Heavy6"Battle Suit; Ablative plate & helmet; Heavy Infantry Armour;
Hostile Environment Suits.
Armoured8"Power assisted heavy armour.
Aliens12"Bugs, Predators, Animals, etc.
Monsters8"Alien beasties of unusual size or strength.
Warriors+2"Troops specialising in close assault.


To Hit numbers:
    Ranged Combat

In order to cause a hit on the target the firer has to score their To-Hit number or more on two die six. 

Firer To-Hit numbers were tied to troop quality so:


Firer To-Hit numbers
Untrained9
Green Troops8
Trained Troops7
Veteran Troops6

We can change base to-Hit numbers to suit individual units depending on how capable they are with ranged weapons.
 
    Close Combat

Pair up the attackers and defenders so that each figure faces at least one opponent. For each figure involved in the close assault roll one die and add the Close Combat Factor for their weapon type. Add the Close Combat Modifiers from Table 5.

Close Combat is an opposed roll. The base factor is derived from the unit's main weapon modified by the unit's quality and tactical factors such as wounded, surprised or outnumbered, etc. If we take off the tactical factors we can give each unit or critter a single Close Combat factor.

Defence:

    Target signature
In base Slammer a unit's target signature is derived from their quality, size and tactical factors. The result is a modifier to the firer's to hit score.
We can give each unit a base target factor then apply tactical modifiers.

If we go with opposed rolls then the attacker and defender both roll dice, add their firer or target factor, apply modifiers and compare scores.

    Armour 


Each weapon type has a damage rating listed on the weapons table as a die and modifier. When a hit is scored on a figure, the firer rolls the dice and adds the modifier listed on the weapons table. The defender rolls one die and add the modifiers listed on Table 4 for the weapon type at the target figures Armour rating.

Determining the effects of ranged combat uses opposed rolls. Each armour type has separate defence factors for Energy or Ballistic Weapons. There are also modifiers for a unit's quality or 'toughness'. This can be given as a dice plus a defence factor vs B or E.

Weapons and Equipment:

Slammer was written as a skirmish game with individual figures armed with a variety of weapons. Factors were given for each weapon in the following format:

Direct Fire Weapons: Type Damage Rating Close (<4") Effect 
Range 
Notes; 
Heavy Machine-gun BAH 1D+ 2 +0 36" Tripod or vehicle mounted, heavy calibre belt fed, etc 
Light Machine-gun /SAWBA 1D+1 +1 24" Rifle calibre, bipod, box, drum or belt fed.
Assault Rifle 1D +2 20" Semi-automatic. 
Sub-machine-gun BA 1D-1 +3 12" Pistol calibre, Automatic 
Sniper Rifle1D+1 +1 28" Accurised heavy calibre. 

Weapon Types; E - Energy weapons, B - Ballistic weapons, X - Explosive Effect,
A - Autofire weapons, H - Heavy weapons. 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Reconstructing Star Force 300

Star Force 300 is a set of rules for SF micro-tank games. It was originally published by Tabletop Games in 1980. It was written by Bob Connor and intended for use with QT Models Star Force 300 1/300th scale SF models.

Recently I acquired a few SF300 models to add to my collection. I contacted Dave Hoyles who sculpted the original models and now runs Museum Miniatures. We discussed producing a new range of SF miniatures in 1/200th scale, along with a set of rules to use them with. Dave gets to sculpt and produce the figure, I get to work on the rules. 

For a start, I don't believe that the original rules are upto current game standards. They do have some good features that I want to retain but the mechanisms seem confusing or often contradictory. Also whilst they were play tested, that understanding of how the game worked does not come across well in the writing. There seem to be quite a few necessary assumptions missing from the rules. For example, there is remarkably little information about the Ramorians. QT Models models show them as crocodilian, but there is no mention of their physique, appearance or culture in the rules. The game goes into considerable detail on the armour and equipment for the two main forces but gives no information on setting up or starting a game.  

Some background. This is the introduction to the original rules.

STAR FORCE 300
ARMOURED COMBAT In the 21st Century *

The Ramorian Empire was conquered by the Earth Federation in the year 2099. The war was short but one of the bloodiest on record, mainly due to the inability of the Ramorians to combat the Federation's armoured units. After only three months campaigning the Ramorian forces were totally defeated and driven from all of their planets except for the most outer asteroids and the planet Compran.
For the next sixty years, and with the aid of the Cossack like people of Compran, the remains of the Ramorian army have been actively engaged in guerrilla warfare while their leaders have been rebuilding the shattered army. This time, however, the lessons of armoured warfare have been learnt and each Ramorian Legion is built around its two heavy tank companies each being equipped with the new and powerful Solar Lance weapon system, a military development of the thermal lance used in their own mines.
Most of the Ramorian Empire comprises dry arid planets but planets that are amongst the most mineral rich in the Universe. The deposits lie far below the surface of the planets and the mines are only obvious by their terminal and ore shipment Building. The mines have been fully automated by the Federation, and the Ramorian plan is to destroy them all in the belief that without the ore the federation would leave them alone. The destruction is to be achieved by reprogramming the mines nuclear power plant computers such that they will cause the plant to detonate and thus render the mines and their vast underground areas of tunnels and processing plants unusable for the next two hundred years.
All is now ready; the ore ships have been fully converted to assault transports and escorted by the Scarab space fighters of the Narcom mercenaries, the first legions are setting out on their mission of reconquest and vengeance.

These rules are designed to give a large scale surface battle, of Brigade size, on the various planets. The forces of both sides are similar in composition being built around armoured formations which in turn are supported by infantry and other weapon systems. As the Ramorian commander (Legion Superior) your orders are to destroy the mines allocated to your Legion and also to inflict the maximum damage on the Federation forces. As the Federation commander (Brigade Captain) your orders are to destroy the Ramorian forces and protect the mines. This will invariably mean an encounter battle once the target mines have been identified.

<pedantry> * Whilst the game's subtitle describes it as Armoured Warfare in the 21st Century, the intro sets the main game 60 years into the 22nd century.</pedantry>  

There is plenty of room here for scenarios beyond the Ramorian Counterstrike. You have the first contact, invasion and conquest and then sixty years of Human colonial settlement and Ramorian resistance. Even in 1/300th scale creating two brigade sized opposing forces is going to take time and money. Playing with smaller forces gives you chance to learn the game and have some fun whilst you build up your armies.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Slammer - Activation Table explained


As part of the Star Force project I proposed creating an edition of Slammer using the Solar Federation / Ramorian Empire setting. This would include unit and equipment stats for troops and vehicles tied to proposed figure range. To help get my head around it all I printed off a copy of Slammer. Somehow a paper
copy seems much more tangible than the digital copies I have been playing with for years. Skimming through the paper rules I noticed something missing. I have been following the rules design discussion on Delta Vector and I wanted to check how Slammer treats troops reaction and opportunity fire.

I have always played the Activation Table so a higher Activation unit can make an early interrupt and take their turn before a lower Activation unit if necessary. I have always assumed this was written into the rules, but I could not find it.

I had to go back through the Yahoo Group message archive to 1999 before I found it written down in response to a player's query about the turn sequence.

I have attached the relevant passage below and emphasised the key bits.

When we first tried Slammer the turn sequence was reversed so higher activation troops moved first. This really didn't work. The best units became instant opportunity targets for every unit on the board and got cut to pieces before they could achieve anything. Lower activation troops have much more limited options, moving them first gets the 'compulsories' out of the way. If they are going to run or fall back, it's worthwhile giving them a head start then keep them running rather than catching them and having to fight. If your high activation unit is afraid they might get away you have the option to opportunity fire and shoot them as they run. If a low unit is firing they may be limited to return fire or panic fire and this is largely ineffective anyway. It's not a race to see who gets off the first shot!

Also a higher activation unit can choose to move at a lower activation level. Units can choose any of the options at their activation level or less, even an option that is nominally unfavourable, e.g. fall back.

I don't think this is stated clearly enough in the rules but it does happen in games I've run that a high activation unit chooses to make its move as an early interrupt, rather like opportunity fire.

 I think this needs repeating and adding to the rules because it's not clear at all. This can make quite a difference to the way troops react to opponents and gives players a bit more to think about rather than just waiting their turn.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The World turned upside down...

We have put our house on the market and are looking for a new home.
Preferably somewhere near the main roads west of Hull.
Among all the work getting our house ready to sell and looking for a new home, it means that most of my projects are put on hold.
I may also have to dispose of some of my toys and books. :(

On the plus side, our new home may have room for a garden railway and or a bigger shed/games room.
Also I have been in discussion with a prominent miniatures producer about reintroducing a beloved fondly remembered range of 1980's sci-fi models... :)





Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Armies from the Attic part 2 - Hordes of the Things

For a quick and easy fantasy wargame, Hordes of the Things is hard to beat. It's remarkably versatile and has been used for scores of different armies and settings. In the basic game each army adds up to 24 AP (Army Points). If you combine it with DBA you get even more unit types such as Light Cavalry, Pikes and Skirmishers.

Here are some of my instant armies made up from my 15mm figures.

Horde Orcs

A mix of figures from various makers including Tabletop Games, Jacobite, Tin Soldier and Warrior.


Warband General x1 @2 = 2AP;
Black Orc Hordes x4 @1 = 4AP;
Black Orc Bows x2 @2 = 4AP;
Hobgoblin Hordes x4 @1 = 4AP;
Rocktroll Behemoth x1 @4 = 4AP;
Wolf  Rider Cavalry x3 @2 = 6AP.


Hobgoblin Hordes, these are Citadel 25mm Snotlings re-based for 15mm.



Black Orcs

Warband General x1 @2 = 2AP;
Black Orc Spears x4 @2 = 8AP;
Black Orc Bows x2 @2 = 4AP;
Rocktroll Behemoth x1 @4 = 4AP;
Wolf  Rider Cavalry x3 @2 = 6AP.


The Rocktroll. This is a resin model that came as part of a set of elementals.


Steppe Goblins

Chariot General (Knight) x1 @2 = 2AP;
Wolf Chariots (Knights) x2 @2 = 4AP;
Wolf Riders Cavalry x6 @2 = 12AP;
Great Goblin Spears x2 @2 = 4AP;
Great Goblin warband x1 @2 = 2AP;


Goblin Wolf Chariots from Tin Soldier.


Wolf Riders. Mixed and matched from various sources.


Ratmen

I bought this little army ready painted and based. I think that they are Pendrakken 10mm figures.
They work mix nicely as 15mm.

Joolius Cheezer Hero (or Magician) General x1 @4 = 4AP;
Ratona Stick (Spears) x2 @2 = 4AP;
Ratus Ratus Warriors (Warband) x6 @2 = 12AP;
Mad Bombers (Shooters) x2 @2 = 4AP; or
Mad Bombers (Artillery) x1 @3 = 3AP; +
Rats Ass-Assassins (Lurkers) x1 @1 = 1AP.



Joolius Cheezer, Ratman Hero (or Magician) with his backing band, spears and mad bombers.

Orthodox Dwarves

This is a traditional Dwarven army of massed hand weapons, hammers, axes. I think that thee are Peter Pig figures, They were bought ready painted and based.

The Low King Hero General x1 @4 = 4AP;
Dwarf Warriors (Blades) x8 @2 = 16AP;
Crossbows (Shooters) x2 @2 = 4AP;


The Low King and bearded loons in chain mail undies.



New Reformed Dwarves

Much the same figures as above but a very different army.

Iron Master (Blades General) x1 @2 = 2AP;
Dwarf Warriors (Blades) x4 @2 = 8AP;
Dwarf Spears x2 @2 = 4AP;
Dwarf Crossbows (Shooters) x2 @2 = 4AP;
Engineer (Cleric) x1 @3 = 3AP;
War Engine (Artillery) x1 @3 = 3AP;



Eastern Empire

These are my Fantasy Byzantines, A heavy Cavalry biased army.

Knight General x1 @2 = 2AP;
Iron Dragons Cataphracts (Knights) x2 @2 = 4AP;
Red Griffons Heavy Cavalry (Riders) x3 @2 = 6AP;
Petcheneg Light Cavalry (Riders) x2 @2 = 4AP;
Empire Levy (Shooters) x4 @2 = 8AP;



Sunday, 14 June 2015

Armies from the attic - Fantasy Rules!

Years ago when I last played tabletop wargames, one of my favourite systems was Chipco's Fantasy Rules. This is a very versatile rules set that allow players to create and customise their own armies from a range of different units and characters. I have three armies that got regular games, the Honest Orcs even got a couple of away matches and did pretty well in competition.
I got them out of the attic and set them up at the games club for a photo session. They seem to have survived fairly well but the bases could do with some refurbishment.

Here are the infamous Honest Orcs assembled en-masse.

1000pt FR!2

Orc General with Taunt and Army Standard;
1x Wizard L2 in Heavy Chariot
6x Black Orc Spears with Bowfire;
4x Hobgoblin hand weapons;
2x Elite Ogre (Strong but Stupid) hand weapons;
6x Goblin Wolf-riders Light Cavalry;
2x Traps, deploy to impede movement;


Wizard Prang in his Heavy Chariot of DOOM;


Two traps: These were both made by Tom Pope.


Great Grey Green Greasy Limpopo Lizardman army.
This is a mob heavy army. FR! allows armies to mass some units into larger juggernauts. These move and fight as a single formation.
The Lizardmen have two 2x3 mob Juggernauts as their core formation giving them a very solid centre.



Lizard general with Army Standard;
Lizardman Hero;
Lizard Wizard Shaman (Druid L2);
Two 2x3 Mob Juggernauts;
4x Skirmishers (attached to the Juggernauts);
6x Lizardmen Handweapons;
2x Dinosaur Riders (Small Monsters);
4x Lizardmen Heavy Cavalry;

Mob Juggernauts + attached bows and characters:



The Eastern Empire.

This army has a heavy cavalry bias backed up by strong infantry, artillery and shooters.



General with army Standard;
Cleric with Holy Hand Grenade (one use only);
4x Iron Dragons Heavy Cataphract Lancers (Knights);
3x Red Griffons  Heavy Cavalry;
3x Petcheneg Light Cavalry;
4x Varangian Dwarves, Hand Weapons Heavy armour;
4x Skirmishers;
1x Heavy Artillery;


The Varangian Dwarven Guard + their mighty bolt lobber:



Light Cavalry and Skirmishers:


These figures are all based on 40mm frontage so I can use them for Hordes of the Things too.