Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Goldilocks Problem...

One rule set to play forever, is it possible?  Not for me, so how few do I have to remember?

Here's my list
Board: Spacehulk
Skirmish (squad to squads+support) : Ambush Alley.  I really like Stargrunt II, however, it often takes longer to set up than to play.
Platoon to sub-Company: It used to be Peter Pig's PBI, but I just stopped playing it... ...more later
Company to Company plus: Hammer's Slammers Crucible

There are other occasional drop-ins but these are the mainstays of my gaming.

So why drop PBI?  I played the v1 rules a bunch, then I bought the v2 rules and v2 AK-47 at the same time.  I never really gelled with either v2 rule sets.  The books are nice and glossy but they both felt like hard work to read through and tricky to recall the rules.  In the end I just went back to v1 AK-47 and kind of stopped PBI. 

While the Crucible rules are fun they are very abstracted for infantry, as they should for a game focused on armour.  So I decided to revisit PBI and give the v2 rules another go (I still have my v1 rulebook just in case...).  I went off to the Pete Pig website to see if I could find the PBI v2 quickstart rules.  It turns out the link is broken, but I managed to find a PDF.  So without further ado, a PBI v2 Quickstart game...

The Quick start has one platoon of Defenders trying to hold off two platoons of Attackers.  All platoons are identical: 1 Command stand (Pltn Co), 6 Rifle stands, 3 LMG stands.

Incoming!  Defenders on way to deployment
 The Attackers are dropped on the FEBA
 Attackers debus from their transports
 Out, Out, Out!  [transports are a recent donation from Mark, Mini-Me LOVES them]
 Defenders deploy into padddy-fields
 There is a restriction on number of bases per square (the black crosses delimit 6" areas)
 Attackers spot the Defenders across the road
 Attackers begin their advance
 Attackers stall on the RHS
 On the LHS they surge forwards
The LHS flank advances to contact
 Pity their firing is ineffective
 The Defenders pour fire into the attackers, KO-ing two bases
 Forcing one squad to pull-back
 The remainder of the platoon deploy into a solid fire position
 And KO one of the Defenders bases
 The RHS platoon gets into the action (finally)
 and KO's another base
 The Defenders redeploy to protect the now vulnerable flank
 The Defenders take out two bases from the RHS squad
 The Attackers get all squads on line ready to assault the Defenders flank
 The fire-support group blazes away, taking out two more bases (one base from previous fire was casevac'd)
 Casualties are casevac'd but Morale falters in the center of the RHS platoon
 Regardless, effective fire takes out another Defender base
 In reply, the Defenders KO two Attacker's bases
 With mounting casualties the Defenders now suffer morale failures
 The Attackers don't show mercy and gun them down anyway
Time is ticking on though, the Quickstart game is only 4 turns long and this is the last one.  The RHS attackers get a shift on and dash forwards
 With some terrible shooting... ...needing 6's to hit
 I spy... ..Some easy targets?
On the LHS the attackers go for the assault but can't get enough Action Points...
 So they end up stuck short
Fortunately for the Attackers the Defends pass their Morale but fail to hit anything
In the quickstart both sides can roll a dice to see if they can extend the game 1 turn.  The attackers tried, and failed, the Defenders don't want to try, so even though the Attackers are mid-assault its Game Over time. 

The Attackers called their air support and it appears over the horizon just in the nick-of time...
So Who won?  In these rules you get to doll rice/score points by occupying terrain and KO-ing bases.  On this basis, the Attackers scored 5 points while the Defenders scored 12.  A resounding victory for the Defenders.
The Verdict:  stick with v2 or go back to v1?

I'm still on the fence, these quickstart rules were fun and easy enough to play, but even the Quickstart sheet is poorly laid out.  Despite this,  I think I'll give v2 rulebook another go at reading through and try the real game before I decide.  I already have some terrain set up after all... 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Teaching an old dog new tricks

This year was a biggie for me, I hit one of those milestone birthdays.  To celebrate I did something I've been a bit nervous of doing, I entered a bike race.

TBH, I'm not a shredder on the bike, I'm more of an 'enjoy the ride' kind of rider.  Because of this, I told Mrs OA that my goal was a modest one: ride the course cleanly, finish it and not be too slow.  I even managed to get in a bit of practice in the area, just as well as there are some tricky sections on the course. Like this:

(photo is not me, its from Roots and Rain's coverage of the race)

I opted to enter a (relatively local) first race, the ESC Enduro race at Diamond Hill in RI.  Over the winter I put in base miles and interval training on the cyclocross bike, then as soon as the snow finally left I started on the mountain bike.  The weather here was cold but not too wet, then it all changed...

...the rain started and didn't stop.  Come race day it was a sloppy mudfest very quickly churned to peanut butter like consistency.  The rock feature above was slick as snot and had quite the high pucker factor to enter it.  Here's me in about the same position as the guy above, there's no going back at this point.

Folks were sliding all over and falling off everywhere.  I managed to ride most of it cleanly, I only went down once.  I hit a muddy berm too quickly and lost my front wheel  right before the end of a timed section.  After dropping a liberal spray of F-bombs I looked up to see spectators staring at me aghast.  I immediately apologized and got back into the race.

This is me a bit later:

So, how did I do on my goal?  Well, time to come clean, my REAL goal was: ride the course and not to be last!  Given the conditions on the day I was happy with my day out, the course was great, the race was fun, the other riders a decent bunch.  And the icing on the cake, I was NOT last in my age bracket !  OK, I was third from last out of 11, but that's OK with me.

A bit of data nerdery:  I used my GPS and Strava on the day.  In riding for practice I had ridden 5 of the 6 sections, in practice timing I was about the middle of the pack of 'all time' riders on those sections.  On race day,  even though we were riding in peanut butter mud, I ended up getting  'Personal bests' on 4 of the 5 sections.  It turned out that approx. 100  other riders were also using Strava on race day (numbers varied a bit due to "did not finish" drop outs over the day). Of those hundred or so riders it looks like they are the quicker Strava users as I was way off the pace, instead of middle pack I was down in the last 10% (92-95) of the slowest for 5 of 6 timed sections.  One section I really enjoyed, I had a great bit of banter at the top with another rider so we were pushing it and it showed, I ended up 65th on that section!

Pinkbike has a decent summary and video up:
(I'm on it! no, not riding, I'm standing in the  rain getting wet at the briefing at around 28s)

 Phew, so what's next?  Well I'm still not fast.  But I really enjoyed the race day atmosphere and camaraderie, so I would like to do another this summer.  The Family schedule is filling fast but I think I can pull it off.  

Friday, March 29, 2019

Prepping Forces for GZG ECC XXII - where'd it go?

It didn't, I forgot to take pics.  Instead, here's two shots from my Dr Who and the Daleks game. All done in 20mm.
The set-up, Daleks invading from the destroyed human colony and humans trying to flee in the dropships
As one of the players said... ...AMBULATE!

Stompy-Bot Mecha Goodness

Mmmmmm... ...crunchy

I blame Netflix.  Mini-Me Minor and I have a new obsession.  We started watching a Gundam series on Netflix and now we are hooked.  On a trip to the hobby store we saw a 1/144 kit and bought it, and Man are those things BIG.  Even in 1/144 its 5 inches tall.  There was no way we could build a collection in that size.  Fortunately, the interwebs came to our rescue.  DreamPod 9 make some super 1/1000 mecha for their Jovian Chronicles range, they make enough different types to add a nice variety too.  Most importently, as its DP9 here, there are surprisingly not crazy prices.  Sooooo, some mecha late we painted some up and had to set up a game ASAP.

We setup a pretty typical encounter game, two sets of mobile suits: Mini-Me Minor had the blue/white Pathfinders (EF, Gundams), I had the green Wyverns (Zeon).  Rules are our simple 'kids rules' modded for Gundam.

 Mini-Me Minor advances his Pathfinders
 Zooom, dodging space debris
 Zeon Wyvers fly a tight pattern
 Pathfinders spot a Wyvern ,guns blaze, missiles fly
 Zeon responds in kind
 Armour shrugs off hits and point defenses knock down the missiles
 A Pathfinder closes to point blank
 Kaboom, that one got through the armour
 A Wyvern tries a sneak attack
 Closing into hand-to-hand
 The Wyvern leader activates a Plasma Axe, yup, plasma Axe, you read it right.
 Boom, the Wyvern Leader takes down a Pathfinder
 Gratuitous shot of the victory
 Kapow, Kapow, Vrooosh
 My turn!
 No, MY turn.
 Oh Oh, we know what's coming now...
 The Pathfinder kick some Wyvern bum
 Over on the other side more hand-to-hand
 The Wyvern Leader takes down another Pathfinder
 The Pathfinder Leader activates a plasma sword
Sizzzle, slice, stab.
 Booom!  The Pathfinder Leader takes down the Wyvern Leader, that last of the Zeon mobile suits
Mini-Me Minor made me take TWO shots of his victory...

...Zeon will have it's revenge