Sunday, 24 November 2013

[Ronin] Who's Got the Buddha?

In getting ready for our semi-regular Saturday night game, the discussion turned to playing Ronin - the Skirmish game from Osprey set in the Age of the Samurai. Jonathan and Chris expressed a preference for playing a Samurai Buntai and I mentioned that I had only painted a couple of samurai and monks, but that I had completed four Dixon bakemono. As Malcolm has a tengu Buntai he converted from Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Goblins and Wargames Factory Samurai bits, John suddenly had a cunning idea for a Ronin game with a twist. This is the email I received:

You and Malcolm are the Goblins! see the last tab [of the excell spreadsheet buntai-maker], and feel free to play with the numbers to a total of <400pts. Tengu have light armour so they can fly, other gobbos have warty-skin armour. The Tengu have Fly (in their case long wing-assisted hops), which gives the movement of a horse. They can cross high things like palisades and houses at half speed. Those circumstances that would lead to falling from a horse are crashing... The Goblins have possession of a gold-coated Buddha statue which they have concealed in a deserted village. They have heard a party of humans is coming to retrieve it..... Victory goes to the possessor of the statue at the end of the game. Getting the statue off the board is victory for the humans. The goblins cannot touch the statue (they got the peasants to hide it, before eating them). The human party think that bandits have taken the statue. Once the terrain is set up, the goblins can conceal themselves anywhere on the table (where there is cover, of course) or programme to come on any side on a set turn.
Happy Buddha is happy
Now, we've been playing Bushido and Land of the Rising Sun - two fine Roleplaying games - together, off and on, for years and the set-up was just like one of those games. As it happened, my wife gave me a little resin buddha she just happened to have and so, with a quick paint job, the object of the game was prepared.

John has given some thought to how magical creatures might be represented in Ronin and here is his thoughts on Tengu and Bakemono.

ClassRankCPInitiativeFightShootArmourBase ptsWeaponsOptionsOption ptsAttributesAttribute ptsTotal pointsQtyLine total
weapon @3
Katana + wakizashi
weapon @3
Tough Budo@3
Katana + wakizashi
Yari @3
Acrobatic, Kenjutsu, fly, acrobatic
Katana + wakizashi
Yari @3
Commander, Acrobatic, Inexorable, intuition, kenjutsu, fly
South-East-Happy-Village-47 - a deserted village.
Chris and Jonathan had charge of a Samurai buntai. The Local Magistrate informed them that a Golden Statue of the Buddha had been abducted from a religious procession by some impious bandits. Chris and Jonathan's buntai were to investigate South-East-Happy-Village-47 (an abandoned farming village) to see if the Bandits had hidden the statue of the Buddha in its environs.

South-East-Happy-Village-47 has hills to the west and north, an old orchard to the east, a swamp to the south and an abandoned paddy field to the south-east. The orchard, swamp and paddy field count as light cover while the peasant huts are heavy cover.

The four bakemono had been left in the large house by the tengu. The tengu, themselves, were roosting in the northern end of the orchard, where they had stashed the Buddha, while digesting their meal of peasant. The stage was set, and the trap was baited.

The Samurai enter from the west and from the east
Chris' buntai approached the village from the north-west, while Jonathan's group approached from the west. Meanwhile, John's buntai approached from the east. Much to our surprise, and amusement, part of his buntai came on at the middle of of the orchard. Unfortunately for him, he couldn't see through to the northern end of the orchard, where the tengu were.

"What's that strange noise .... <gak>?"
With a flutter of wings, strange shapes dropped out of the trees around John's men.


Hearing the ruckus, Chris and Jonathan's buntai rushed towards the village. Chris' ashigaru archers pass by the north of the red house while Jonathan's men check the small, south-western house. One poor ashigaru is sent to check the old paddy field for hidden buddhas.

"Hey, guys? Guys? What's happening in there?"
Two of John's ashigaru archers cautiously approached the southern end of the wood, just as everything went strangely quiet.

"Hah! Those Samurai weren't much chop!"
At about this time, just as Jonathan's samurai were approaching the large house, four horrific figures burst out of a side door.

Two bakemono with yari and tetsuebo.

And two Dai-bakemono with naginata and katana.

Throwing themselves at the approaching samurai, the battle was vicious, and short.

Meanwhile, the tengu began to cautiously emerge from the orchard.

Realizing that the stupid bakemono had got themselves into trouble, two tengu were dispatched to assist them.

The tengu were too late, the hatamoto and his boys had already dealt with the impetuous, and hapless, bakemono.

"I have a bad feeling about this."

"Eat Otherworld Yari, humi ... ow!
One tengu was swiftly overcome, the other used his acrobatics to avoid being double-teamed by the samurai but was eventually caught and slain.

"Dagnammit! I knew we should have studied kyujutsu."
The tengu in the orchard now found themselves a little bit trapped. With archers firing at them whenever they came near the edge of the orchard, they eventually charged the archers and the leader of the buntai on the slopes of the northern hill - hoping to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by taking him out.

Which goes to show that even the best laid plans of goblins and men can often go awry. Victory to the humans.

All in all, a fun scenario and a fun game.

Friday, 22 November 2013

[RRtK] Goblins, Goblins, marching up and down

It took a little longer than I anticipated, but I finally finished the bulk of my Goblin Army for Rally Round the King, as well as a chunk of the Mountain Giant Army. The majority of the Goblin figures are from Baccus 6mm - a couple of packs of infantry and a pack of wolf riders, as well as a command pack and a sheet of flags.

Goblin Army in all its glory, plus Mountain and Hill Giants on the grey bases at the back.
60 cavalry or 120 infantry per pack sounds a lot, and it is, but Baccus produce nice figures, and I soon worked out a way of painting the strips relatively quickly. The fiddliest part was the cutting up of the figure strips to mount on the bases.

As the wolf riders are "light cavalry", I went with six figures to the base, which gave me 10 bases - about twice the number I need for the basic army list. I hadn't notice initially but the wolf riders contain a mixture of figures with shields, figures without shields, and figures with shields slung over their backs. This variety, plus staggered mounting on the unit base, allowed me to create an over-all "loose" or "undisciplined" look, which was what I was after.

L to R: Irregular Ogres, Baccus Goblin wolf riders. Baccus Goblin infantry in the background.
I found that 14 infantry, in two rows of seven, produced the nicest fit for my 40mm x 20mm bases. The two packs of Goblin Infantry - 240 figures - therefore produced 17 bases/elements with two figures left over. The sheet of 12 flags neatly matched the 12 command strips (six in each Infantry pack) and I produced several "infantry only" elements to allow me to field double-depth "attack columns" of Goblins if I so wished.

I replaced the standard bearers' flag staffs with staffs cut from high tensile quilting pins as the thin, lead staffs had all bent in shipping and obviously wouldn't survive much handling. It proved impossible to drill out the standard bearers' hands to take the new staffs, but careful positioning and painting pretty much hides the fact that the new staffs have been added.

Each Infantry strip comes with one speargoblin and three goblins with swords - each swordgoblin is slightly different, either having a different shield type or different sword. I put all the speargoblins into separate units as I could create a uniformed and disciplined look with them. The Black Moon Goblins of Rally Round the King are more organized than the run-of-the-mill line filler. And then I played around with the swordsgoblins to create a more irregular look for the bulk of the line units. A little splash of colour on some of the shields pretty much finished them off. Skin colour-wise, I opted for a tan, preferring Tolkien to Games Workshop as my point of reference.

Goblins from Baccus 6mm
The Rally Round the King Goblin Army also includes Ogres and archers - neither of which Baccus produces - so I recruited some Ogres from Irregular Miniatures 6mm Fantasy line (sourced from Eureka Miniatures in Australia), and some Lesser Goblin Archers (from the same source). The Irregular Ogres are quite nice, though only in one pose, and have a little goblinoid riding their shoulders like a mahout. I gave my ogres a grey-blue skin colour, implying a possibly photophobic, night-haunting cannibal monster type.

Ogres from Irregular Miniatures.
The Lesser Goblin Archers were a little disappointing, resembling little, bow-armed, bundles of laundry. I also got my numbers wrong with them - I assumed that they would deploy en mass and ordered enough strips to make put up several elements with 10 or so figures per element. I then realized that Goblin archers deploy as skirmishers so I only needed five figures per element.

Lesser Goblin Archers from Irregular Miniatures.
I am thinking of reworking the Goblin list so I might include the option to field low REP massed archers, such as the Lesser Goblins.

L to R: Lesser Goblin Archers from Irregular, Goblin General, champions and wizards from Baccus, Mountain Giant from Microworld Games at rear.
The Goblin command pack from Baccus included some real gems. The General rides in a two-wolf chariot - he actually looks a lot like an Etruscan or Villanovan with his spear and spiked helmet. There are two wizards or magic-users including one with an enormous hat (I painted it blue, as you do), two foot champions - one with a two-handed sword as long as he is tall - and a champion mounted on a wolf.

L to R: Goblin Wizard, Goblin Champion, Goblin Magic User from Baccus 6mm.
They are nice figures with lots of character and seeing the General's chariot got me thinking about adding a chariot option to the Goblin Army list which, to me, meshes in well with the generally slightly anarchic, slightly archaic nature of Goblin technology.

Earth Giant from Microworld Games
While working on my Goblins, I managed to finish a group of figures for my Mountain Giant Army. The inspiration for this army came from seeing the Microworld Games Earth Giant. The Earth Giant is not cheap - $US5 for one figure is crazy for 6mm, but the Earth Giant stands about 25mm tall. The Earth Giant became Thrym, the Mountain Giant and King of the Giants in Jotunheim. As a sentient mountain, I painted him up in earth shades and added a little flock to him. I went for a barren, shale-like base finish to give the impression that the giants were coming down off the bare mountain tops and high ice fields.

To Thrym, I added some giants from Irregular Miniatures - the two headed giant and some Hill Giants. I'm not so happy with the two headed giant. I made his skin blue but I think I'll move it more towards grey and make him a Storm Giant.
Thrym and the Two-headed Storm Giant
The Hill Giants are the most humanoid of the giants and I painted them up like gargantuan peasants or vikings.

Goblins from Baccu 6mm and Hill Giants from Irregular Miniatures

The Mountain Giant Army also includes trolls and ogres - I already have a couple of Irregular ogres for the Goblin Army and have picked up some more for the Giant Army. The Irregular trolls are rather disappointing being essentially one, rather odd, pose.

Irregular Trolls in front of Microworld Earth Giant and Irregular Two-headed Giant.
I've just seen Microworld's Dread Ogres from their new Dark Alliance range, and this has decided my choice of figures for both my Dark Elf Army (Microworld's Dread Elves) and more trolls.

To be painted: the balance of my Men of the West Army/Army of Valgasmaa from Irregular; Beastmen Army from Microworld Games.

Incoming: Irregular Medieval and Early Renaissance figures for my League of Foranimenagii Army

Planned: Dark Elves (Microworld's Dread Elves); Dwarves (probably Microworld); Orcs (Irregular)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

[IHMN] In Which the Blogger Receives His Meridian Miniatures Kickstarter Figures

A couple of days ago, my long awaited figures from the Meridian Miniatures Kickstarter showed up in the post.

While not at the highest level of support, I chose two infantry sets and a specialist set.

I also ordered a separate set of energy rifles - these will be Model 1895 Higgs-Rothersey ARC rifles.

The specialist pack for my level of support contains two officers - I wanted the great coat clad officers and troopers as I really like the painted examples on the Meridian Miniatures Kickstarter site. You can also see the head sprues for my infantry sets.

The first head sprue has diving-helmet-like heads.

The second head sprue has these vaguely guards-like crested helmet with breather mask.

I ordered two body types for my infantry - firing line ...

... and skirmishers. I intend to mix the two body types together. I intend to end up with one squad of infantry with the diving-helmet heads - troopers for Captain Nemo - and one squad of infantry with guards-like helmets - Okhrana troopers to be commanded by either Olga Petronova or Feodor Sonavavich.

I will remove the base slottas on these figures and mount them directly on washers, my preferred basing style, as I have done with other slotta base figures.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

[IHMN] The Latest Version of Doctor Cornelius' Most Excellent Company

Before our latest battle, I tweaked Doctor Cornelius' Company slightly.

The good Doctor replaced his Faraday Coat with a Brigandine and his knife with a pistol, principally because I was betting that none of the guys would field Arc weapons, and I needed to boost the Company's fire power.

 I gave Lofty the Hands Like Clubs ability, as used by the Yeti in the IHMN rulebook, as this fits his character of the massive bodyguard. In a previous encounter, he had engaged Lady Felicity, of Lord Curr's Company, in fisticuffs and, once she got over his Terrifying aspect, he discovered that he was barely able to lay a hand on her - a rather embarrassing event for a massive bodyguard.

I decided to get rid of the Minion Medic. In the last encounter he had proved ineffective. Instead, I recruited another member of the Rotten Row Drainers - Shotgun Jack - and gave him a shotgun along with the usual Drainers' Club.

The Company as fielded in the King of the Castle encounter:

Doctor Cornelius' Most Excellent Company
Doctor Edgar Octavian Cornelius92++1+4+1Leadership+2+2 InitiativeBrigandine51
Erudite Wit-1 to enemy SV/FV within 12"Pistol +1SV 9" range, Pluck+0
Martial Arts+1 FV, +1 Speed
Intuitive+3 Armour 1st time shot at
Seamus O'Tipple93++4+4+1Leadership+1+1 InitiativeBrigandine52
GunslingerCan split SV b'tween guns2 x Pistols +1SV 9" range, Pluck+0
Marksman (Pistol)Ignores Target's coverKnife - +1 FV/SV, Pluck +0, 6" range
Lofty94++2+5+1Tough+1 Pluck Rolls vs SV and FVBrigandine52
TerrifyingEnemy must make Pluck to attackHands like Clubs +1FV +0 Pluck
NumbIgnores 1st hit against him
Maxim Destroyevsky94++4+2+0Marksman (Rifle)Ignores Target's CoverBrigandine51
HunterCan select target in groupPistol +1SV 9" range, Pluck+0
FanaticRerolls 1st failed PluckHunting Rifle +4SV 36" range Pluck-2
The Rotten Row Drainers
Club - +1 FV, Pluck - 1
Club - +1 FV, Pluck - 1
Shotgun Jack85++3+3+0Jack18
Club - +1 FV, Pluck - 1
Shotgun +2SV, 12" range Pluck +0/-1

Doctor Cornelius' Most Excellent Company suffered three casualties during the encounter - Coleman, Roger and Shotgun Jack - but they all made their Pluck rolls after the encounter and rejoined the Company. The Company also scored 13 Victory Points - enough to hire another Rotten Row Drainer, or add a couple of rifles, or grenadoes, to the company equipment mix, or perhaps save the VPs until I can recruit another character. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, 4 November 2013

[IHMN] King of the Castle

The stars aligned, John finished painting his Lord Curr's Company, and we convened for another game of In Her Majesty's Name.

We elected to play a King of the Castle scenario - one player's company  defends a central site while the other companies attempt to winkle him out.

We each had a 250 point company and we decided to trial Chris' Campaign Rules. In this case, taking out an enemy leader was worth 5 Victory Points, taking out one of his companions was worth 2 VP and holding the objective - in this case the keep of the derelict fort - was worth 20 VP. All casualties in one's own company would make a pluck roll after the battle, rejoining the company immediately if exceeding Pluck; being out of action for a battle if just making their Pluck Roll; and being deceased or otherwise unavailable if failing Pluck.   

Looking north from Poxly village towards the ruins of Poxly Manor

And so we see the fields outside of the little village of Poxly. Selous' Scouts (Chris) have learned that a copy of  Livingston's Concordium - an account of an ancient treasure Doctor Livingston discovered during his quest for the source of the Nile - was hidden in the ruined tower of Poxly Manor. Descending upon Poxly, the Scouts have been digging in and around the ancient fort but, unfortunately for them, their activities have been noted.

The tower and part of the walls of Poxly Manor are medieval, but the manor was heavily modified during the Civil War

The Thule Society (Jonathan) believes that Livingston's Concordium contains the location of occult artifacts and have determined to seize this book for the greater glory of Prussia. Approaching from the west, they take up position behind the wood to the left of the fort.

The Society of Thule approach the manor through the wood

Meanwhile, Lord Curr (John) and his Incorrigibles have been dispatched by the Ministry to prevent a valuable historical document from falling into foreign and/or unscrupulous hands. Approaching from the north-east, they deploy amongst the orchards on both sides of the Poxly Brook.

Lord Curr and some of his men in the orchard beyond the Poxly Brook

Representing the aforementioned unscrupulous hands, Doctor Cornelius and his Most Excellent Company (your humble correspondent) approach from the south-west, amidst the old maze and folly of the manor house (and beside the village water tower which seems to contain a rather flavorsome red).

Cornelius' Most Excellent Company approach the Manor through the old Maze

Selous' men took up positions within the manor ruin, attempting to cover the approaches, and soon came under a withering fire from both the woods to the west, and from the orchards.
Selous' Scouts prepare to defend Poxly Manor
As the firing grew heavier, and casualties began to mount, one of Selous' marksmen and his medic managed to break out through the south gate and take cover near Poxly Village to the south-east. Cornelius' Company, while approaching the manor from the south-west, lacked the long-range fire power to prevent Selous' withdrawal.

As the Scouts fell back, the Society of Thule burst into the ruined manor through the north gate, even as Doctor Cornelius' men were sprinting towards the south gate. When one of the Jaeger climbed the old tower, Maxim Destroyevsky brought him down with a well-aimed shot. To his alarm, the dead Jaeger lurched into life as a todh-truppen and rushed to block the south gate.

Plucky Coleman, one of the Rotten Row Drainers, attacked the todh-truppen while the not so plucky Seamus O'Tipple ran away, screaming like a little girl.
Cornelius' Company assault the south gate, defended by a todh-truppen. Seamus O'Tipple flees to the left.
Seamus was able to redeem himself by sneaking up the west side of the Manor and gunning down a Jaeger defending the north gate, and the Society's leader, Von Stroheim. As Doctor Kobalt leapt to Von Stroheim's aid, Maxim Destroyevsky nailed him with a superb long range shot.

The demise of Von Stroheim removed his force field projecktor. This meant that Selous' marksman, firing from the trees near Poxly, was able to fell the todh-truppen guarding the south gate. Sprinting across the court yard, Lofty scaled the tower where he was soon engaged with Lord Curr and another todh-truppen. The todh-truppen was swiftly dispatched and the tower remained contested between Lofty and Lord Curr as time ran out and the authorities arrived.

A tense end-of-battle, but as the objective was in contention at the end of turn 12, no one side could claim the Victory Points for it. A fun game, and Doctor Cornelius' Company performed a lot better this time. After all ganging up on Chris, we all turned on Jonathan as the Society of Thule looked set to take the game. That left John and myself to contest the tower at the end.