Friday, October 22, 2010

The Quarterly Report, V1. #1

Being a quadriannual report of all things Quarish in Rio de Janeiro

The 116th Provisional Brigade occupies a hilltop

15mm Quar Arrive in Rio
On my recent trip to the U.S. top take part in the Stop Trafficking! conference at DePauw University in Indiana, I took the opportunity to pick up a bunch of 15mm Quar from Zombie Smith.

The quar are a delightful ficticious race which has sprung from the ferbile immagination of Joshua Qualtieri, who has apparently been dreaming up these little buggers ever since he was a kid. They are a race of extremely pugnacious anteater-like omnivores which Josh has imagined as caught up in a never-ending cycle of clan-based politics and warfare. At the current point of the story line (i.e. the point the miniatures are modeled on), the quar have a technological base that's roughly on the level of World War I and the current round of the endless conflict (appropriately called The Long War) has lasted 700 years. A new messianical leader has arisen among the quar of the nation-state of Tok, however. Alykinder is part Napoleon Bonaparte, part Leon Trotsky and part Moe from the Three Stooges. He has held out the hope, to all quar kind, that the Long War may finally be ended through a widespread and thorough-going revolution which will overthrow the ruling clanlords and usher in an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity across Alwyd, the quar's planet.

Fired by missionary zeal, Alykinder's Crusader catrawds (regiments) have overrun most of their enemies, partly due to the fact that their leader is something of a genius for military innovation (he pioneered the use of dirigible and zepplin-based airmobile tactics, for example). Alykinder's dream of peace through war seems to be going terribly astray, however. The intensified violence brought about by the Crusade has broken the bounds of the laws which the quar have traditionally used to keep total war at bay. Now, the four cadierquar of the appocalypse roam the face of Alwyd and Crusade seems posed to toss all of quarkind into an age of bloody chaos never before seen in their history...

The quar miniatures produced by Zombie Smith come in two sizes: 15mm and 28mm. Being that the quar themselves are somewhat shorter than humans, this means a "foot to headtop" size of 12mm and 22mm. My first batch of quar are four company-sized packs of 15mm figs for a total of about 200 miniatures. Josh very nicely supplied me with some extra mounted officer figs so that I could have a go at building a cavalry regiment as well. Josh claims that he plans to have the entire 28mm line of quar figs reproduced in 15mm "very soon now", but at this point, all you can buy are Crusader infantry. This is not such a problem as one might think, however, because many of the factions opposing Alykninder's forces use Crusade-style equipment. You can purchase 15mm quar with helmets, caps and bear heads, so I've made the helmeted quar my Crusader forces and the rest will be their Royalist foes.

Zombie Smith produces two sets of rules for use with the quar and both may be bought and downloaded on-line. This Quar's War is meant to be used with the 28mm or 15mm stuff for company-sized conflicts (40-50 figures per side). Meanwhile Songs of Our Ancestors is a skirmish set, geared towards battles with 6-12 figures a side. Both systems are excellent and are worth your money even if you plan to use your own rules as they come with background information about the quar and their world. TQW is especially good in this sense and many reviewers have compared the book to Osprey's historical volumes. Particularly poignant in TQW is the series of letters which open each chapter between a Crusader recruit and his young cousin back home. Understated and well-written, they give glimpse into the pathos and futilty of the Quar's conflict and warfare in general. For this reason alone, TQW get's a big thumbs up from us here at Lead Doesn't Bleed. Josh Qualtieri, like many wargamer's, seems to be something of a pacifist and is on-record as saying that one of the reasons he developed the quar is so that gamers could indulge in bloody mayhem without feeling guilty over representing real-life wars and battles. That may be so and is a laudible thing, but what's truly extraordinary is that Qualitieri and crew's fluff pieces can actually make you feel terribly sorry for these ridiculous little bloody-thirsty monomaniacs.

Regarding the quality of the figures, the 28mm line is excellent and on par with the best stuff Games Workshop or the Perry Twins make. It's also expen$ive at 4-6 USD a fig. The 15mm stuff is much more economical, but is sculpted by Qualtieiri himself and is not quite so breathtakingly detailed as the larger figures. However, it is very workman like and perfectly acceptable fort he wargames table.

Planning the units and basing
I plan to use my 15mm quar with Specialist Military Publishing's Future War Commander rules and also, possibly, with Rapid Fire. I've thus decided to base my figures at a scale of 20 quar to a casting. This means that a regulation sized catrawd of 9 line companies and 1 assault company will be made up of 20 stands of 2 castings each. I've decided to base light machineguns and light mortars seperately at a scale of six weapons to a stand. The average catrawd thus gets three stands of each. Technically, at the platoon/section level of play, these weapons would probably be factored in to the regular stands. However, being that this is WWI -style combat, with relatively few vehicles, I'd like to give players a wide range of infantry types to utilize during the game, so I've gone with seperate basing of company-level support weapons.

Each catrawd will also get a regimental command stand of 3 figures and a flag and 2-4 "battalion" commanders, mounted singly.

Zombie Smith makes heavy tanks for the 15mm line and I bought one. I also picked up some WWII German 150mm infantry guns from Pendraken's 10mm line. These are funky-looking castings which fit right in with quar's style. I figure that they are 75mm support guns. Finally, I did some simple conversions for the artilleryquar (basically cutting away their weapons) and assault engineers (engineers get a bit of small plastic tubing on their backs to carry their anti-obstacle and demoltion charges, while flamethrower quar have two bits of the same tubing attached to their packs as fuel tanks). I also converted some mounted officers into lancers by filing down their epaulettes and giving them plasticard carbines and paperclip lances.

Pendraken infantry guns employed by Crusaders

A column of assault engineers led by flamethrowers

My first unit will be a Crusader provisional brigade; a mish-mash of remnants of other units and, consequently, something of a combined arms force.

The 116th Provisional Brigade

The simultaneous revolts in Lower Barro and Kryst of 1772 took the Crusader High Command by surprise, though by all rights they shouldn't have. Both nations had been relatively quickly overrun before the Crusade even properly began. Lower Barro had always been one of Alykinder's main bases of political support, but the False War had resulted in the wholesale exile of the nation's royalist political class, who maintained their connections with the region's principal clans from their refuges in Fidwog and Creevin. The conquest of Kryst, while rapid, had been less than complete, with significant elements of the Krystian regular forces (most particularly the famous Sand Stalker Brigade) undefeated. Furthermore, like the nobility of Lower Barro, Kryst's most notorious royalist leaders were exiled, not killed.

By late 1770, then, both regions were passing through a marked upswing in partisan activity, which was barely kept in check by Crusader internal security troops and the local police. As overstretched as Alykinder's forces were, few regular units could be dispatched for partisan-hunting operations in the deserts and mountains of what was still generally considered to be the Crusade's backyard.

In 1772, several city states in Kryst openly entered into revolt as well as the city state of Mulf in Lower Barro. Initially, rebel forces consisted of militia levies, backed up by partisans and a handful of elite city guard catrawds (most notoriously the Sand Stalkers, in the case of Kyrst). The rebels' immediate opponents were a grab-bag of Crusader units which generally fell into one of two categories: tired and depleted veteran units which were in the region resting and refitting prior to redeployment elsewhere, or newly raised, very green reserve Catrawds.

The 116th Provisional Brigade was organized around several Crusader units which were in the southern portion of Lower Barro when the revolt began. It is an excellent example of just the sort of ad-hoc battlegroup which bore the brunt of the initial rebel assault.

The 116th Crusader Guards Catrawd
Sylwedl Yrseg, Commanding
5 Ryfler Companies, 3 Assault Companies:
41 Officers,
369 Enlisted
6 100mm Infantry Guns
4 Baeliog Armored Tractors

The core of the Brigade was made up of the remnants of the 116th Crusader Guards Catrawd under the leadership of Syrnol Cysrad, who was quickly breveted to Caernerol and brigade command at the start of the rebellion, leaving effective control of the 116th Guards to his second in command. Initially, the catrawd had only enough ryflers to make five understrength companies and only a third of its authorized support weapons (mortars and light machineguns) were available. Cysrad, however, quickly attached the faculty of the Welfyn Combet Engineer School to the unit, giving it an additional three companies of flamethrower and demolitions-equipped assault troops, two batteries of light infantry guns and four old, but serviceable, Baeliog heavy tractors.

Remnants 35th Gendarmie Squadron
Syrnol Dweezil, Commanding
1 Composite Troop
4 officers,
61 Enlisted

The 35th Gendarmie was a cavalry unit on internal security duty which had been largely overrun by Lower Barro militia in the opening days of the revolt. The squadron's remnants fell back on Welfyn where they were re-equipped and re-organized by Cysrad as the Brigade's reconaissance unit.

Sylwedl Yrseg plants the catrawd's flag behind the infantry gun battery.
To his left, two wedges from the 35th Gendarmie wait in reserve.

Three rhyfler companies from the 116th advance in skirmish formation through a small valley.
Light machineguns anchor the line's right flank and a light mortar battery has set up in reserve,
ready to offer fire support if necessary.

Two shots of the 116th's Baeliog Tractor squadron.

Future War Commander Stats for 15mm Quar

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Project: 15mm Quar

I bought some of Zombie Smith's excellent Quar figures for a change of pace when I went up to the States in September. These figs were recently voted "Best Sci-fi miniatures of the year" by the crowd over at The Miniatures Page and they come  in both 15mm and 28mm.

Here's some initial shots of my first batch of painted 15mm quar. The photo quality ain't great and I'm sorry to say I had to relearn how to paint 15mm after all this time painting 3mm stuff, so the paint job isn't as good as it could be. But these are just "rough" shots. I plan to do a mega Quar post in the very near future, with rules and stats for Future War Commander.

These are based presuming 1 figure = 20 quar, with two bases being a Quar company.

Above, you'll see the core of the 116th Guards Catrawd. 3 companies of Guards to the right, a Baeliog Armored Tractor in the middle with two batteries of infantry guns to the right of it and finally three companies of assault engineers on the left.

Baeliog troop. The vehicle modeled here is "Old Number 7" from the Welfyn Combat Engineer School.

Sylwedl Yrseg, and his retinué, commanding the 116th Guards Catrawd. 

The newly raised 6006th Reserve Catrawd from Tok, at full parade strength.

Two wedges from the 35th Gendarmie Squadron escort a baggage train.

Close up of the 35th Gendarmie.

A flying squadron of Kryst's famous Sand Stalker Brigade. Obviously, the transport has been left behind somewhere, along with the machinegun carriages.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Depot de la Guerre: Handcrafted Terrain for Wargames

I'm sure this is far beyond my budget, but it DOES give one some great ideas for 2-3mm terrain modules, no?

Just beautiful stuff!

Question: what do you all think he uses to get that field effect? I could definitely use some of that...

Is that washcloth material for the fields or what...?

And look at these Squad Leader boards! Now THAT'S how ASL should be played!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Sci-Fi Tertrain Photos

Here are a few more photos of the 1/600 scale science fiction city, now completely finished, together with a few long-range shots of the jungle.

As you can see, the "towers emerging from the hatches" pieces became something else entirely. In thinking that they are city-sized shield projectors or point-defence systems. Or something. Yeah, that's the ticket. My old plastic and wood block-based buildings form a suburb to the left.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

3mm Sci-fi Jungle

Mechas and infantry carefully pick their way through a tubetree jungle.

I wanted a suitable alien-looking jungle on the cheap. Inspired by adolescent memories of GDW's classic wargame Bloodtree Rebellion, I decided that I would do giant tubercular trees which catch water in their middles. Following C.J. Cherryh's sparse descriptions of "woolwood" in her Cyteen series, I decided I wanted the trunks to be a mass of tangled blue-grey branches.

So I bought a medium-sized loofa sponge for a dollar down at the SAARA and cut it up into chunks. I hot-glued the chunks to some old Mechwarrior cards I had lying about, then painted them black, using a fairly heavy black wash and squishing it into the sponge structure with my hands. When that dried, I dry-brushed the sponges with blue-grey. The result was the following:

I then painted the base terracota and did a tan drybrush over that.

When everything had dried, I glooped up the top upper 2/3rds of the sponge with white glue and dipped it in Woodland Scenics generic green flock. I then glooped more glue on the base and put down a layer of fine yellow flock, followed by more green flock. When that dried, I glued clumps of coarse dark green flock around the base and a layer of coarse light green flock along the top of the sponge. Finally, I laid a bead of white glue over the light green flock and dipped the top of the sponge in a tin of Gailforce 9's green summer static grass.

To finish it off, I painted the bottom of the hole in the center of the sponge blue, as if water was reflecting the sky.

Here's the result:

I made two smaller clumps like this and one big jungle piece, complete with path through the middle. Here's a top shot:

Total time taken for the project, maybe 2 hours all told, outside of drying time. Total cost, maybe 5 USD.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Big Red and Thor

Here are a couple of pictures of the House Möder-Fokker titans, Big Red and Thor.

These are Dream Pod 9 Earth Force Frames, done up as 60-foot-tall mega-walkers for my 1/600 sci-fi Furture War Commander project.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Building a 3mm Science Fiction City

Last Tuesday, I took a stroll down through the SAARA to my favorite bead and bangles shop, where I bought 20 dollars worth of wooden and plastic beads and shapes with which to build some sci-fi urban terrain for my burgeoning 3mm mecha armies.

My goal was to make suitably phallic-looking towers a la Dream Pod 9's rendition of the city of Peace River. (I was also inspired by the One More Gaming Project blog's recent Martian city.) I didn't want the buildings to be TOO detailed, as that would distract attention from the minis, but I wanted the to be more than simply painted shapes.

Anyhow, here are the results so far...

And here's a few action shows with the painted main citadel and a few city blocks. Note also the presence of Big Red, the House Möder-Fokker Titan....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dave's Sunday Drive

In order to better test my new Massive units rules, I put together a wee battle on Sunday evening.

Dave has been tasked with clearing a desert road into the enemy's flank. The road is bisected by a low ridge line with some light cover and is held by a company of House Penn-Taylor main battle tanks. Dave has CV 10 from his off-board CO and the PT boys have a CV 9 on-board CO.

The Penn-Taylor company on the ridge. Note that the CO is within convenient command range of only two of the platoons.

Turns 1 and 2. Dave begins an oblique advance on the north end of the Penn-Taylor line. The southernmost platoons open fire and leave a nasty scratch on Dave's paintwork.

Turns 3-6. Dave closes the distance on the northernmost platoon and opens fire, doing sweet fuck-all. He launches his missile at the middle PT tank and catches the HQ in the burst, again, doing no discernable damage (Dave is preoccupied with an upcoming coumn deadline and a good part of his main processing unit is editing instead of aiming). On turn 5, the PT CO blows his command roll. The blunder sends the southern tank platoons charging straight towards Dave - a blunder which turned out to be sort of providential, actually, because it cut their range down to half.

(These accidental charges/retreats which turn out for the best are beginning to get to be a habit with the PT boys. See their last battle report here.)

The PT tanks change tactics to firing to damage and manage to whittle Dave down to two damage points. A critical hit also tanks out his secondary battery, leaving him with only his main gun. Dave manages to suppress the northenmost tank a couple of times, but that's about it.

Dave finally wakes up to the fact that there's a serious problem here and sets aside his editing work. Taking full stock of the situation, he decides that a full-fledged charge is in order and goes straight in on the northernmost tank. (Being that he has 9 assault dice and an additional die for charging versus the MBT's 3, this is not a bad idea).

Dave weathers the closing fire well enough but skunks out completely in the following assault: only two unsaved hits out of ten dice! He suppresses the tank, but that's it.

Meanwhile, cognizant of the fact that Dave's now down to only two hits, the Penn-Taylor commander urges his crews to fire for effect. All four of their shots hit and two make it through Dave's armor, finally bringing the nig cybertank to a halt on turn 8, the last turn of the game.

Luckily for Dave, a Möder-Fokker battalion is coming up the road behind him and will probably have their support echelon salvage his brain box. If the upcoming battle against House Penn-Taylor is won, Dave's chasis will also probably be towed back to the Fokkin Castle for refurbishment. Dave may be old, but he's tough and waste not, want not.
Dave waits for a tow.

The battle showed me that the system works fine, but needs a few tweaks yet. Principal among these si that I've decided that "fire to damage" hits will also carry over throughout the turn. Other than that, though, the game went well. Dave really stunk on his rolls and, to be fair, the odds were against him from the outset, what with having to chrage an equivalent force in a prepared position.

It was a fun little game for a half hour!

Shamelessly stolen from The Onion, no copyright challenge implied

I'm Prepared To Give My Life For This Or Any Country

By Curtis Stalbank

THE ONION, March 28, 2007

As a true patriot, I would gladly die in battle defending my homeland. I love my country more than my own life. But I would also be more than willing to give my last breath in the name of, say, Mexico, Panama, Japan, or the Czech Republic. The most honorable thing a man can do is lay down his life for his country. Or another country. The important thing is that it's a country.

Like those heroes who spilled their blood fighting for independence against the British Empire, I, too, would forfeit everything to win for my countrymen the right to be governed by politicians in our own capital instead of in a capital located further away. Nothing is more profound or more sacred than to die for one's country, an adjacent country, or some other, foreign country.

The truth is, there are a lot of countries, each of which is the most noble cause possible to die for. I only regret that I have but one life to lose for but one country.

I would not hesitate to give my life for or against any other noble nation. Come to think of it, I would even die for a neutral third party caught in the crossfire during a heroic peacekeeping effort, just so long as my death would be in some way related to a country of some kind. That's how committed I am to the concept of nationalism.

The bottom line is that the current boundaries of a nation are worth protecting at all costs. Otherwise, what would so many brave and patriotic souls have lost their lives for?

I was lucky enough to be born in one of the 200 greatest countries in the world, and I promised myself long ago that I would never forget it. I can only hope to someday have the privilege of protecting this great land against whomever may seek to do it harm. Or to defend some other country against whomever may seek to do it harm. And vice versa.

Ideally, I'd like to die for a country that was at least in the Western hemisphere but it'd be just as heroic to expire bravely on the end of a pointed stick deep in the jungles of Africa. My wife would be widowed and my children orphaned, but they would take solace in the knowledge that I had given my life to a cause that the people of some nation believed in.

I only ask that I be given a soldier's funeral so that I may be buried holding the flag or flags of wherever it was I was fighting for.

There comes a time when all of us, no matter who we are, heed the call to the battlefield. It is a call we cannot and should not ignore, no matter where it is coming from. And if I must die, in the service of this or that country, I only hope I can at least take as many of the enemy with me as possible before I fall and breathe my last. Unless of course, they're also fighting for a country. In which case, their deaths, at my hands, will have been honorable—because they, like me, would have died for a country.

Without nationalism, our deaths in the countless wars we constantly wage to defend our own nations against others defending their own nations against us would seem arbitrary, almost meaningless. But as long as we have a higher purpose—the love of whatever country we happen to be fighting for—we will always know we did not lose our lives in vain.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Building the Big Boys, Part 1

I'm such a lazy sod! Look at that frickin' mold line...!

The Commander series of wargame rules is a marvelous example of what Ty Bomba likes to call "design for effect", by which he means that it concentrates on producing a believeable looking game while not worrying about small details. Units are abstracted in the interest of maintaining a quick and fluid game experience and, by and large, this is a good decision. Few rules systems allow one to really feel like a commander on the battlefield. In the xxC system, however, because the system glosses the small stuff, one experiences something like the worries of a real-life military leader, concentrating more on the big picture rather than on whether or not a 76mm cannon can penetrate a Tiger II's front armor at 500 paces.

The only problem is that when we get to the sci-fi installment of the system, Future War Commander things seem just a tad TOO abstract. Maybe it's because I cut my sci-fi miniatures gaming chops on Games Wankshop's Adeptus Titanicus and Steve Jackson Games Ogre Miniatures, but one of the things I look for  in my sci-fi games are large combat vehicles. I mean ridiculously fucking spectacularly unbelievably large vehicles. And for the game system to work well for me, these titanic monsters have to be integrated into the system in such a way that they simultaneously play differently from the small "popcorn" units, but don't absolutely dominate the game.

Those of you who play Ogre know what I'm talking about. In that game, one rarely sees more than two massive cybertanks on the battlefield and, when present, ogres are indeed a major focus of the game. But without appropriate support from conventional units and infantry, ogres will quickly find themselves ground down and worn out.

I think Future War Commander, as it stands, just misses this effect. Its massive units are not quite differentiated enough to give them an individualized feeling which, let's face it, is what you want to have when manuvering a robot the size of an office building through downtown Tokyo. As the rules stand, massive units are just regular units writ large and are generally too vulnerable to make them worth their cost.

This really isn't the fault of the rule's author, Peter Andrew Jones. After all, he was looking for an quick play, simple rules system which could, simultaneously, be stretched to fit any sort of sci-fi universe one chooses. And it is this flexibility which is ultimately FWC's saving grace. Peter hasn't so much given us a rules set as a nice big Lego box. By tweaking unit construction and inventing new optional rules and upgrades, it is very easy to take Future War Commander in any direction one wants. And that, of course, was Peter's main goal.

So now that my 1/600 armies have some titans and cybertanks painted up, I`ve decided to give some thought as to how I want them to work on the battlefield. What follows are some of my ideas.

Massive Units in General - Rules Tweaks
The following are some general rules changes which I intend to employ regarding massive units. They add a small amount of complexity but, in general, I`ve tried to hew to Peter`s "design for effect" philosophy and keep them as simple - and thus memorizable - as possible.

As the rules stand, massive units are far too easy to suppress, being treated like a regular unit in this respect. Because of this, a lowly infantry unit with popguns can easily stop a massive cybertank in its tracks. Sorry, I feel this is far too much vulnerability. To fix this, apply the following rule:

Massive units only test for suppression when hit by another massive unit's primary armament. Shielded units (massive or otherwise) do not test for suppression until their shields are down.

Fall backs
It should be noted that massive units do not fall back under any circumstances and that multiple fall backs are one of the main ways in which units are killed in this game. This is probably a good thing, otherwise popcorn would be knocking massive units out left and right. However, it seems to me that massive units should be at least somewhat vulnerable to other massive units. For this reason, apply the following rule:

Any time a suppressed massive unit is hit, it must roll for fall-back normally. Massive units are never knocked out by fall backs, even if forced to fall back more than 10cm by another massive unit's primary armament

So now conventional units can force massive units to fall back if another massive unit has already suppressed the target beforehand, but you still have to kill the buggers the hard way. Also, the new rules on suppression mean that even if you concentrate a lot of conventional unit's fire on the massive unit, you're not going to do much good unless you take it out completely.

Firing to damage
Add the following rule:

Any unit may "fire to damage" a massive unit. This is declared after activation and before any attacks are made. Units firing to damage do not count damage normally, but for every X unsaved hits, eliminate one hit point from the target PERMANENTLY. X = the massive unit's damage threshold, which is typically "3". Note that an attack which is declared to be "firing to damage" cannot kill a Massive unit unless it makes X * Hit Points worth of unsaved hits.

Critical Damage

Add the following rule:

For every hit point permanently removed from a massive unit via "firing to damage", roll one die: on a "6", the massive unit suffers critical damage. Roll on the following table for each critical hit:

1 Movement reduced by 5 cm
2 Shield generator destroyed
3 Secondary explosions cause two more permanent hits (roll for crits)
4 Secondary Armament destroyer (choose at random if more than one)
5 Secondary Armament destroyer (choose at random if more than one)

6 Primary Armament destroyed

If a critical hit can't apply (e.g. the primary weapon is already gone and you roll a "6", continue rolling until you get a result that can be applied.

Building massive units The following additions should be added to the rules for creating your own units:

Unit Attributes
  • Massive                                +5 for each hit point
  • Command Capable              +1/2 CV cost                        Massive unit is also a command unit
  • Expendable                           +5 per four hits
  • Damage Threshold 1             -10 per hit point
  • Damage Threshold 2             -5 per hit point
  • Damage Threshold 3              0
  • Damage Threshold 4             +10 per hit point
  • Damage Threshold 5             +15 per hit point

Points formula for units
  • Massive units count each weapon seperately.
  • Regular units count a scondary weapon at half cost and a tertiary weapon at 1/3rd the cost
New or Revised Attacks
  • Stabilized                                 +10 for regular units, +10 for each massive unit weapon
  • Half AV versus AFV (I)          -25% from the attack points before tech upgrades
  • Half AV versus Infantry (A)     -15% from the attack points before tech upgrades
  • Hard Attack only (#)               -25% from the attack points before tech upgrades
  • Soft Attack only (*)                 -50% from the attack points before tech upgrades
  • Artillery Attacks                       AV x15, plus range points. Range cost for 200cm is 100. If off board, range cost is 150.
  • Divisable AV                            May divide the AV into as many attacks as player wishes, +25% of the attack points before tech upgrades
  • Restricted Ammo                    x25% per shot (so four shots is effectively unrestricted ammo)

Tech Upgrades
  • Electronic Warfare Suite         +15 per attack value (note that this is simply Cryonics Weapons in a less orky guise).
  • AEGIS system                        +40/+70/+100 Works as a shield dome, but only against smart missiles and indirect artillery attacks. Does NOT absorb attacks from friendly units, but does attack enemy units moving through it in the same way as a shield dome.
  • Shields                                   A unit can now have any number of shields, regardless of its hits.

Optional Rules
I also decided that I wanted artillery and missile rules which didn't seem like WWII on the game table. The following rules make both more flexible (and artillery more costly):

Smart Missiles
  • Smart missiles can be (*), (#) or regular. If they have a restricted target type, they gain the regular discount.
  • Smart missiles DO NOT have the "auto-linked" upgrade: they are strictly "fire and forget". However, smart missiles now IGNORE line of sight restrictions. If at least one friendly unit is within 30cm of the target and has a line of sight to it, it can spot for any smart-missile equipped unit or units, as long as it activates together with these firing units. Spotting in this fashion is considered to be an action.

  • - Any HQ unit can now spot for off-board artillery using its CV value.
  • - Any friendly unit can now spot for off-board artillery using the CV value of its activating HQ/CO unit, -1.
  • On-board artillery can fire at units outside their LOS if at least one friendly unit is within 30cm of the target and has a line of sight to it and activates together with the firing units.Spotting in this fashion is considered to be an action.
  • - Artillery targets can attempt Evasive Action against indirect fire artillery.
  • - Artillery is now costed out according to the following formula:
     Artillery Attacks AV x15, plus range points.
     Range cost for 200cm is 100.
     If off board, range cost is 150.

Building the big boys
So now that we have some basic rules, let's build us some ridiculously large combat vehicles!

(By the way, I suggest that you make a little unit card for each type of massive vehicle you control, instead of sticking all its information on one or two lines).

Cybertanks versus Titans
In my gaming universe, cybertanks use strictly human technology and are thus considered obsolete. Walkers, of all sizes, use neural feedback network and shield technology acquired from the Siliaz Hegemony and are thus much more effective, though also quite costly. Walkers are they only units which can have stabilization and their field of view is 180 degrees (not restricted, as in the regular rules). So why does humanity still use cybertanks? Because they are relatively easy to build and maintain on colony worlds, using the technology and resources commonly at hand. Plus, the buggers are as tough as old horseshoe nails.

Mark III Cybertank
Let's start off with Fred, a Mark III Cybertank.

Fred was built as a colonial defense unit and still fulfills that role quite adequately, though without shields, he's increasingly vulnerable to enemy titans. Fred's chassis is about 50 years old, though his brain has been repeatedly upgraded with top-of-the-line AI softwear. He's close enough to self-aware as to be no nevermind. His hobbies include football and chess. Fred has been known to play an entire battalion of infantry, simultaneously, at the later game.

Mark II Cybertank
This is Dave, a slightly smaller Mark II cybertank, also built as a colonial defence unit.

(You'll have to forgive Dave for being a little dusty. Apparently some mold is growing under his starboard missile launcher).

Dave currently workd for Baron Hisa Möder-Fokker and is shown here in the colors of the Baronial Guard. Mostly, Dave stays stored in the basement of the Fokkin Castle, waiting to be called out to repell any invasion of the baronial lands. In his spare time (of which he has plenty), Dave writes a "lonely hearts" advice blog which is syndicated across the Human Sphere.

Next up, Titans!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Future War Commander in 1/600: Grey Army

Here's the Grey Army (as yet nameless, though Lukas sent in some good ideas), finally completed for Future War Commander in 1/600 (or 3mm) scale.

This is the 3rd Combined Arms Combat Team, built around a titan regiment of five squadrons. Each squadron has two troops and there are four light squadrons and one heavy. The grey heavy titans are heavily armored and mount a uniqued area point-defence system which is designed to shoot down missiles and artillery rounds. Their main weapon is a starship-grade particle accelerator. The heavy titans are also HQ units and have an electronic warfare capacity. The light titans are built for speed and are the smallest vehicles in the Human Sphere to mount shield generators. The shield geometries available due to this unique design decision require that the rail gun be slung under the titan's belly rather than mounted on top, where it would be more effective.

The greys have spent a lot of money upgrading their titan forces in recent years and their mecha arm has suffered. Here, we see a small mecha battalion (two HQs, nine line mecha troops, three light mecha troops and a mecha artillery support battery), equipped with Hünds, a solid but now somewhat obsolete mecha design.

Two conventional combined arms battalions are also part of the team. These are composed of two HQs, six MBTs, 6 IFVs and 6 heavy conventional infantry platoons. A large mobile artillery battery is attached to each battalion and a rocket artillery battery serves as the Team's heavy long-range fire support. Also attached directly to Brigade Headquarters is a armored car recon squadron. Fast recon mechs are on the Grey's "to buy" list. In the meantime, the Grey's command staff is debating attaching a heavy scout squadron to this unit, which would include 3 missile-armed APCs and 3 scout platoons.

The Team's fourth and final main unit is an air cavalry regiment, made up of six attack helicopter troops.

Brigade support includes a squadron of light attack craft and an obsolete (but still very tough) cybertank named "Fred".