Friday, December 28, 2012

Creation of a Homeworld: The Pit of Nurgle

The Nurgle Pit Beckons
 A bit of a delay, Happy Holidays to everyone.  Came home the other day after the in-laws left to find standing water in my beautiful basement Homeworld.  Turns out that the sewer had backed up after a load of laundry.  I rented a roto-rooter (actually a device named the "Electric Eel" from the local big-box store and unclogged the drain.  Today came the scrub brushes and the bleach. 

Roots were the cause.  I had a thought that I should use the roots as a piece of terrain, but I thought better than to introduce giardia to the tabletop.

I've started a few buildings.  First, the Satellite Uplink Station (SUS). It's made from an old teakettle, two halves of two different smoke detectors, a shaving cream plastic container (or something, can't tell really what someone would use that for), a tube used for garden decorations and some random washers and gear parts at the top.

The SUS.           

Next we have a marine proudly showing off the exterior of the pump-and-gear-house.  I couldn't begin to list the parts used on this.

This shows the interior of the pump-and-gear house, it's got see-through floors for better template management.  The first floor is mostly filled with machinery.  Hardware store nerds should note the key-burnishing wheel, making its second appearance on a piece of 40k terrain (I tore it off some discarded terrain during last year's Big Game).

This tower has yet to have a formal name, but it might be called the "Main Generator" or somesuch.  While none of these projects are painted, this one should specifically turn out excellent when finished.  The center block is made from 1/8" frosted glass, the roof with blue cathedral glass.  Only a few areas will remain unpainted on the roof and the sides, and a blinking light will be installed inside.  This way the building will have windows with flashing lights coming from the inside.

The Power-Station Thingy 

This is a picture of a Space Marine dutifully standing beneath the Power Station Thingy, showing off some of the impressive duct work.

The ducting was particularly impressive.

That's all for now.  I hope to get some games in soon.  Happy New Year.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Creation of a Homeword - Interlude

I've been squirreling around in my basement, trying to coalesce or coagulate or co-something-or-another all of the junk I've collected over the years.

Some of my junk.
 I've been waiting for this moment, really.  Early in the ork days of 1988 I started to modify junk to make my own models.  The first model I built was from an empty NyQuil bottle I fished out of the trash, glued on two pill bottles for engines, and attached wires to hold the orks on.  I wish I still had that model, even though it was crap.

Over the years I got rid of my "trash models," including several "Speed Stick" tanks made from underarm deodorant toss-aways.  My days of 40k waned in the early '90s, and my collection of random ork figs and their fleet of propylene glycol powered skimmers disappeared after being abandoned at a friend's house.

The idea stuck with me.  I had made my own "tanks" with legos as a child; and played with "little green soldiers" manning those tanks.  I always loved a game where I could build my own things. 
Uline catalogs, Hillman stickers, and a newspaper clipping from the heady days of Kim Jong Il.
 Since picking up the hobby (habit) again in 1989, I've always kept an eye out for the possible conversion.  At the time I worked at a hardware store in Milwaukee.  Immediately the old-school 40k player reignited when the manager and I started playing again.  We started making terrain from all kinds of things that were lying around in the basement, old gutters, mis-tint paint, concrete, really anything we could get our hands on.  In the Hillman aisle of nuts-and-bolts-for-5 cents-a-piece I put together my first Zzap gun, since they didn't have a model for orks that I could find at the time.  I also started picking up things that could possibly be used for conversions and model building, even the stickers and labels that would go on products or display counters.

Anyways.  I've been collecting junk for years now, keeping it in boxes.  I've been tearing out pages from chemical supply catalogs, or office supply ordering forms, and saving newspaper clippings that have interesting graphics on them.

Last few nights and tonight, I've been getting it all together and laying it out on the table, preparing for the day where I and a few brave epoxy tubes ready to give it all will dive into making some really gritty terrain for JYLN-55.

All the stuff that has "roundness" to it.  Yup, I kept the air-pump to the inflatable mattress that blew a bearing, there's a few smoke detectors in there (radioactive!) and a ton of stuff I've found while bike-commuting to work.

I guess the point of this is:  I'm always collecting stuff for 40k, 24-hours-a-day.  I'll stop and pick something up that other people will throw out, I'll even tear stuff off of televisions or appliances that are sitting on the curb, or in my house but not working.  Almost everything, when covered with black primer, washed in boltgun metal and set out of scale looks like something from the 41st millennium.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Horror

Disclaimer:  This post has nothing to do with 40k, really.  

My wife and I are fans of board games, and since we both were home alone with the little one, and both had off on Thanksgiving, we decided to take in a game at Arkham Horror again.

Some people really dislike this game, but we love it.  I think there are enough cool things to do to counteract the baddies in the game, and if you take the cooperative sense of the game in good stride you can have a good time.  Another thing we like is that the game is vastly different every time.  Probably most of this difference comes from the fact that we now own all three "big box" expansions and one "little box" expansion.  These include in addition to the main box, Dunwich Horror, Innsmouth Horror, Kingsport Horror, and the Lurker at the Threshold.

We had to add leaves to the kitchen table and extend both ends after moving it into the living room.  Here's the game in full swing, we've got two characters each.

Arkham Horror with four expansions in all its glory.  There are no bowls of treats on the table, those are all game pieces.

This was our first time playing with the Kingsport addition.  We decided to not use the Kingsport threat of Gate Rifts (or whatever they are- super-moving-monster-holes), and we never use the gates from the Lurker box (cause losing a health or sanity after going through an underworld or having a gate devour you is just too competitive).

We ended up losing rather quickly, I think by turn 8 or so, because the big baddie Ancient One would gain a doom token (how he "wins" the game) every time a Tome is drawn.  I had mixed in the newer cards from Kingsport into the tops of the decks, and didn't realize that the Curiosity Shop was chock-full of Tomes because of it.  Entirely my fault, like stacking the deck in the Ancient One's favor.   Two visits netted 5 doom tokens, which pretty much gave the Ancient One the leg up in the contest.  We only sealed one gate, and closed another.  Still, with some of the new items I started seeing some cool synergies that could go on.

I'm excited about Kingsport, because when compared to Innsmouth, it seems like a right-nice place to hang out.  All the locations are stable (so there won't be any gates, I think), and therefore the place will be relatively free from monsters from the cup (so we might have a few coming down from the streets).  I'm looking forward to playing again.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My first games of 6th Edition

 My first games of 6th edition were against my worthy opponent Lord Boroth (of Apostles of Contagion fame), for a classic Marines vs. Chaos standoff, and after that a Guard vs. Guard lasgun shoot-out.  I had problems with a crappy camera, so I'm going to leave the battle reports to him.   I had a good time fielding over 1500 points in troops, 6 tactical squads, two Rhinos, two Razorbacks, two librarians, and a Land Raider Redeemer.
 I had a pretty rough time with my dice the first game, failing multiple "easy" saves within a row, and failing to fire my hunter-killer missiles mounted on my Rhinos before they were pegged mid-field.  I tried a mid-field rush, but I had left the Redeemer in reserves.  Big mistake, it was like a half-assed blitz, J picked it up, destroyed the Rhinos, delayed the Razorbacks, and held my advance at bay.  His shooting easily dismantled the combat squads (and full squads, for that matter) that dumped out of the destroyed vehicles.
 The new Chaos Codex is slick.  I really like the direction it is going in.  I found that I didn't really have a problem at all with how wound removal is now resolved, and J was super-nice to pointing out the ease of wound-pool allocation.   One of the funny things that happened were with Warlord Traits.  I ran two Librarians in my list (because I wanted to roll a lot of random powers and stuff), and my Warlord Trait happened to be Legendary Fighter (or something like that) which scored me a victory point every time I won a Challenge in assault.

The Iron Warriors had a stipulation in their army that demanded that they make and/or accept a challenge in all assaults.  As soon as my Librarian got into assault, I started scoring points.  Likewise, I lucked out that his Raptors were falling back when the game ended (one more turn and they probably would have regrouped, the made a sucky Leadership roll the turn before).  These things alone allowed me to win the game by one point, which I didn't really deserve, since he had hoards of guys still out there capturing objectives, and I had probably 9 marines left on the table (at best).

I'm not really sure how my Guard won their first game, but here are my impressions on their first run:

1) Lots of grenade launchers paid off against other lightly armored vehicles.  I had much luck handling an outflank from Sentinels that threatened poor guardsmen that couldn't scratch the surface.

2) Krak grenades are useful.  When you don't have them, you're sorry you don't have them. 

3) Hellhounds really rock, especially since they are fast.

4) Heavy weapons squads are very fragile.

5) A Priest whose squad runs away sometimes has a hard time regrouping.  Probably not worth it unless he's in a vehicle of some kind.

6) Command squads on vehicles would be a great idea, otherwise you gotta run them into the guns in order to give orders.

All in all, I loved 6th edition.  I'm ready for more, as soon as possible!  I really liked the set-up, where both players "gear up" their psykers and warlords, roll for objectives, mission, etc.  Plenty has been said about 6th in other forums, so I won't wax philosophical about how cool this is when considering the social beer-and-pretzels component of the game, however I'll just say that it helps it rather than hinders it.  More to talk about after the game.

Thanks for stopping by.  More updates on the game room coming soon, I built some shelves, ready to install temporary lighting...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Big Game Fluff

I wrote some fluff for a Big Game.  I present it for your consideration.  The rules that accompany this fluff are still being finalized, but if you scroll down the blog you'll see a good idea of kinda-sorta-what-I-was-thinking-of.

(Oh yeah, and Eye of Isha guy, the mound is the thing I was asking if you still had.  As you'll see as you read the script, it has an important part in the battle.)


This begins and ends the story of the life of a man named Raith.

Raith had been a devoted servant to the Tech Ministry Facility on JYLN-55 for almost his entire life, beginning his career at the tender age of sixteen, continuing until his untimely demise at the age of one-hundred and twelve.  The Tech Ministry Facility, which hired, trained, and finally fired him spanned over JLYN-55 for just under three square miles, a looming, towering fortress of automation and information constructed from plasteel and ceramic deflectors, immense antenna arrays and transmitters the size of elephants that crackled with static electrical discharge for weeks at a time.  Its great sheer walls had no windows, its edifice built to repel the largest or most insidiously small of attacks, as the Tech Ministry Facility at one point was a hub of this sector's mining transactions.  Raith's main duties, essential to these transactions, were to negotiate contracts between land parcel managers and prospective space-faring contractors wishing to establish dedicated receiving zones on the planet's surface.  It wasn't an illustrious job, but JYLN-55 wasn't an illustrious place, its poles uninhabitable; its equator was literally coated with hive mile-high spires that peeked through the pollution clouds, their massive hab units packed to the gills with working-class ore miners.  Daily these jumpsuit-clad mining crews would descend using high-speed elevators into JYLN-55's depths, spending long hours operating the machinery that would drill great holes into their planet's core, loading the ore escalators that would carry the ore to the surface, dumping them into land-raider sized trucks that would deliver the ores to the Northern Zone refineries.  These refineries would cull and separate, then deliver the refined ores to the dedicated receiving zones Raith was directly responsible for.  For decades, everything went smoothly in Raith's life, he raised a small family and saw them travel to other planets.  Towards the end of his life, he saw himself retiring comfortably with a very cozy and clerical position within the Ministry.  Raith would find his retired years spent researching a more efficient warp regulator technology, something he had witnessed as a problem during his working years.  Warp regulators were a kind of relay switch that would control the amount of information allowed to enter the warp driver memory banks, this information used by those piloting ships in the warp.  In this way, the warp regulators would be directly controlling the accuracy of a ship's travels, and would determine its very survival through the terrors of the Warp.  Just before the Eldar arrived, Raith had developed an exceptional regulator, yet had not tested its efficiency. 

In 750.M41, for unknown reasons, the Eldar came.  There are those sources that talk of the reasons, there are files and databases held by the Imperium that would reveal actually what happened and why the Eldar arrived, and why they left.  None of this is important now.  What is known is that in their wake, all of the suns in the system were extinguished, and the system died.  The orbiting moons of JYLN, seated on the edge of the sector, also went dark, but the largest of these, JYLN-55, had enough proximity to the nearby Fronds Stars to keep a few of its inhabitants alive, though the temperatures dropped to constant freezing and almost constant darkness.  Most of the inhabitants abandoned the mines and left in the Great Exodus.

The Great Exodus is an event recorded by the Imperium, where thousands of transport vessels hurried Imperial citizens out of the system.  Most of them were evacuated securely, but a few were left behind, either by choice or by accident.  The system became known as Deadhenge, and when the Imperial vessels left, the remaining survivors of JYLN-55 were left to fend for themselves.  Raith was one of them left behind, however this was purely voluntary.  Raith knew no life outside of the Ministry, and his body and mind were intricately connected to the automated systems there.  He and a small surviving band of engineers from the Tech Ministry holed themselves up in the fortress-like facility, and lived there for scores of years, augmenting their biology with mechanical enhancements and bio-engineering.  There were some who spread rumors that the Tech Ministry had friendly relations with the Eldar threat, as they became more secretive and withdrawn over the years to come. While the planet's surface and hive spires devolved into brutal gang fighting and rebellion, the Tech Ministry stood strong but silent, a bastion of impregnable machinery and power, with fully automated defenses and constant surveillance of the surrounding territories, complete with electrified perimeters and searchlights.  They would need these defenses not because of any alien threat, rather the point-defense laser batteries and electroshock walls would be just enough deterrence to fend off inquisitive gangs and the near constant incursions from the rising Chaos cults.

Ascending to positions of power amongst the gangs on JYLN-55 after the fall were the devotees of the Chaos God of Slaanesh, other humans that had been left behind in prisons and slums, that now bathed themselves in indulgences of the flesh and mind (though there were few in the Deadhenge).  They called themselves the Slaan Cult, and organized themselves into a force that rivaled the local police forces.  A rebellion was started, and JYLN-55 was engulfed in a gang-warfare style conflict that spanned all inhabited territories.  With the new climate, inhabitable territories were becoming more and more scarce, and with the loss of income and Imperial protection, the planet's population slowly devolved into mobs of aliens and mutants.  Underneath all of the intentions for conflict hid the ruinous powers of Slaanesh.  From afar, Slaaneshi champions toyed with both sides to try to influence their ways into the yet impervious fortress of the Tech Ministry.  For years they had known about the warp relay Raith had been working on.  Time after time their agents were repelled, until a traitor was secured inside the Ministry itself.

The traitor had, like Raith, worked within the Ministry all of his life, but had lost almost all of his humanity by incorporating his living being into a symbiotic relationship with some of the automated systems.  He was known only as "Grey," the color code of his department 75 years ago.  Now Grey was the system, and with him it clicked along smoothly as any system could, never sleeping, never wavering.

Grey was slowly seduced by a viral program inserted into the mainframe by a relatively innocuous cultist infiltrator.  Designed by some of the most insidious Slaaneshi Warpsmiths, the worm program convinced Grey to compromise one branch of security in the southwest corridors.  Grey was not even aware that he was becoming a traitor to the Tech Ministry, in his mind he was simply running a routine test of various systems.  However, at the very moment of compromise, a coordinated strike was set into play by the Slaan Cult, and a corrupted Eldar bounty hunter was sent into the depths of the Tech Ministry fortress to find not just Raith, but the relay as well.

Raith became aware of the threat upon his life through the defense systems of the Tech Ministry, but was unaware of Grey's treachery.  The Eldar bounty hunter nearly came upon Raith, but Raith survived the attempt.  Deciding that he would be safer now that his location was known, Raith loaded his warp relay aboard a cargo truck the size of a large battle tank and fled into the streets surrounding the Ministry.

For three years Raith avoided the Eldar bounty hunter, plugged into the cargo truck like a large computer.  In a slum garage Raith hid during downtimes, modifying his cargo truck with armor plating, surveillance cameras and radar uplinks using the Tech Ministry's massive arrays, all the time still tinkering with his warp relay.  He transformed his invention from a simple program into a beacon, hoping to contact a passing Imperial cruiser to rescue him from his life in exile.  After these three years he had decided that he would need transmission coordinates, and he contacted Grey to get them.  Grey was entirely under the influence of Chaos by now, monitoring and following Raith's every move through the same radar uplinks Raith thought were keeping him safe from detection.  Grey, in collusion with nearly an entire legion of Chaos Champions, directed Raith to activate his beacon at a location in the middle of the Northern Zone mining tailing ponds.  

Raith made his way to the high ground in the Northern Zone.  The tailing ponds were vast pools of sludge that contained everything that the miners didn't want from the center of the planet, all that wasn't ore.  It was dumped into these massive shallow ponds, and layer after layer of cadmium, barium and lead were settled to the floor of the pool.  Their murky depths made crossing them very dangerous, as the mud and muck would drag one down to a toxic death.  The area was favored for disposing of bodies now, and winds screamed across the surface of the waters, colored the palid brown of cream in coffee. When Raith arrived, he dragged his relay in its protective shell up to the top of the highest mound.   There he waited, and began to power-up his beacon.  

Meanwhile, on cue from a secure transmission from the Tech Facility, a Chaos fleet entered the Warp at the Eye of Terror-- headed directly for Deadhenge.

Raith watched as his warp beacon began to whir and pulse colors.  As he started manually uploading the transmission coordinates, a shock of electricity bolted into his brain from somewhere behind him.  Necrons, the ancient machines sleeping at the center of the planet, had awoken and risen through the mines to investigate the new warp signature on the surface.  The warp signatures of the Chaos fleet entering from near orbit, combined with the very erratic waves sent from the relay were enough to rouse them from their centuries-long slumber.  Or, perhaps, it was a mine collapse on the other hemisphere of JYLN-55 that awoke them.  Whatever the reason, their mechanical minds had decided that now, finally, it was time for them to take back their planet.

Raith was their first victim.

What followed between the Necrons and the rather surprised Chaos forces that arrived expecting to snatch a piece of technology and its creator without incident, and disappear from Imperial territory, was less a skirmish but rather a bloodbath. The Chaos forces that approached the tailing ponds were ambushed and ill prepared for such an attack from the unrelenting Necrons lurking in the waters.

More Chaos forces arrived, and set up a defensive perimeter along the southern edge of the tailing ponds.  From this position they weakened the Necron forces, but could not approach the mound where the body of Raith still lay slumped over the keypad of his warp beacon. 

It wouldn't be long before Imperial forces would catch wind of the incident and scramble to JYLN-55.  Forces would be pulled from various distant systems at the last minute, and upon arrival they would encounter the same Necron forces that had kept Chaos at bay.  

Now the forces of the Imperium, massing on one side of the tailing ponds found themselves facing the forces of Chaos well-entrenched on the other.  Alerts were sent to nearby systems, and diplomats from the Tau Empire and the Eldar were paid handsomely by both sides for their participation in the stalemate.  

The battle began, surrounding the ponds.  Massive armies clashed, and flanks were attempted and denied.  The battle of the JYLN-55 will construct what happened in the very middle of this battle, as opposing forces race in to grab territory and defend it at all costs. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blog List.

I discovered a new blog last night, I'm not sure who writes it but I think he's got a good grasp on Eldar. ;)

 Here is a blog I visit every day:

One of my Arbitrator friends and a really great opponent:

And I wish I had this guy's miniature collection...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Creation of a Homeworld, 3

The finished table.  I've placed a 6' x 4' pink styrofoam topper for a game surface, allowing a 6" dice-and-casualty pit around the perimeter.

Complete with under-the-table storage.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Creation of a Homeworld, Part 2

Next to build the table.  First, I purchased a saw.

Then, I purchased some wood.

I made some plans.  Cut down some pieces.  The legs are cut from cedar 4x4s, at a height that exactly matches the joint of my hip, hopefully allowing me the best reach across the table.  This happens to be 39".  The top frame of the table are 2x6s, the bottom frame 2x4s.  I need it to be strong to hold everything I throw at it, just in case I need to build terrain from lead.

No kidding, it might happen.

Anyways, here's some of the wood cut to size.

I tack screwed the table frame together, then attached the legs, bolting them on with 3/8" carriage bolts.

Because you wanted to see it, here's a detail of the leg assembly.  Washer, lock-nut, nut.

Here's the frame, complete with cross-braces.  Solid, ready for the plywood.  

The total table playing area should be 5' x 7', but the plan is to place a 4'x6' board in the middle and a trim rail around the perimeter to catch dice.  But more on that later.  Next time I'll break out the circular saw and cut down the plywood drying out in my garage.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Gettin' by with a little help from my friends.

Since we've seen me last on this blog, I've seen the birth of my new daughter and had a horrible virus attack my system.  I'm all better, and the little girl is doing just great.  During this time I've been quiet on the blog, but I've been slowly putting guardsmen together, with much thanks to added supplies from my friends Tim and J.  They'll probably see a few of their own figs in these pictures, I've kept some of them whole just to give homage to their generosity-- in 40k model form.  In the pic above is my company commander (for now, I plan on buying creed), his vox caster, two flamers and a company standard (because big flags look really cool).

In the next photo I've got an infantry command squad.  They've got three flamers and a kneeling heavy flamer.  I hope to add a vox to this squad, and transfer one of the flamers out to another infantry command squad still in progress.

Many of the conversion bits you'll see are from Warlord games and from Pig Iron.  I really think they make great stuff, especially for guard armies.  Next are a few infantry squads.  This one has a vox and a chick with a grenade launcher.  She'll probably get a name, and become a character in Book of the Arbitrator games for sure.  I think her name will be Klorine Bleech.

Each infantry platoon is pretty much identical, a grenade launcher, vox, and bare-bones sergeant.

Also, I wanted each unit to have a "scout" of sorts leading them through the ruins of combat, so each squad has someone kneeling and pointing, or someone kneeling with binoculars, ususally reserved for heavy weapons squads.  This will help explain, fluff-wise, why I will probably regularly outflank with the penal legions and other units. 

These guys coming up are some veterans.  They've got some melta and some plasma power.

And this squad,  I'm not sure whether to convert them into veterans, parts them down to special weapons squads, or keep them just an ugly-lookin' infantry squad.  But they're part of the chemical crew, that will accompany the Bane Wolf squadron I'll have coming onto the field.

And some heavy weapons.  Some mortars.  Great stuff.  I'll probably build another two bases, and then field two squads of two, or attach these guys to command squads.

As I mentioned earlier, I've got some penal legion already built.  I've got two squads of ten, ready to rumble.  As seen earlier in the blog.

I've got a chimera, two leman russes, three bane wolves and some more heavy weapons to put together.  The above will be the core of my army, I'm hoping to use Creed and Kell to shout out orders.  I know I won't need all those vox casters out there, but I think they look really great, and if anyone sees how I roll, they'll know I'll need 'em if I want to get an order off.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Big Game Ideas Part Two

A daydream of a big game and thoughts therof.

I've been thinking about Big Games (see post below).  The event is described below in the form of stages, eventually I wish to use this as a framework for a big game plan, a brainstorm of an ideal.  By compiling this over several days and letting it roll around in my brick-for-a-brain, I should come up with something.

This post should be best understood after reading my previous entry, An appeal for Big Games 
which is found below.  This post will most likely be edited if folks make comments on it.

Six weeks before the game event: The planning.

Six weeks before the big game begins, the event is described to all of the participants, the date has been set for months, and some money has been pooled to secure the site.  Players are divided into teams, ideally six or more per side.  Each team decides upon a general, these generals and the game designer meet to receive secret missions, team-specific objectives, intel on the enemy, fluff, et cetera.  The generals then confer with their team.  They come up with a plan, a real plan on how to handle the enemy.  Generals are given the ability to assign players to certain locations in the game, or to specific skirmish tables, according to the wishes and availability of the players.  Things like when-the-player-is-showing-up and what-kind-of-army-the-player-has is considered.  Since the first night (see Friday night) are smaller games, generals should be able to arrange challenges and call-outs made by players (e.g. Boroth vs. Cterry smackdown), and encourage their teammates to tailor-design their armies to handle a specific task.

The big game is a big event for the year.  There's no reason why all the strategy has to happen Saturday evening after beer number five.

Friday Afternoon:  We show up.

Big games are usually held in these hotel conference rooms, or the like.  Players show up at all times of the day, some are available at 9am, some don't make it until Saturday morning.  It would be great if the big game could accommodate players from all time zones, wouldn't it?  If someone could come Saturday but couldn't come on Friday, that should be fine, and vice versa.  We all have jobs and/or commitments, distances to travel, and family to take care of.

Friday Night: Games go into the evening.

I see players showing up, even coordinating their arrival times so they could finish their Friday night games and possibly finish another one.  Friday night would be casual, yet full of games, acts of bravado and team decisions.  By the end of the evening, the Friday night games would be tallied, and one side would be able to deploy.  In a perfect world, as soon as someone is done with their Friday night games they would be able to deploy on the main table.  

Saturday Morning: The battle begins.

I love this tradition, that there isn't a lot of monkey-shines before the game begins on Saturday.  Folks eat breakfast, then head to the hall and roll dice.  Pretty great stuff.

Saturday Afternoon: Food arrives.

The game is probably, at best, on turn three at this stage.  Instead of breaking for lunch, I'd like to see a few party subs delivered.  Everyone eats with their hands and napkins, there aren't a ton of plates and cutlery and sauces strewn about.  Save that kind of eating for supper.

Saturday Night: Battle rages on, the game changes pace.

Last year we came up with something called the "world clock," which I never really thought was fleshed out that well but everyone seemed to like it.  Considering that there is a "Main Battle," and I really like battles "mixing," as it were, I'd like to see at a to-be-decided-time (6pm?) the Main Battle turn from a separate "World Clock" battle to a "World War" battle, where everyone is ready to fight one another, basilisks can fire the length of the table, Titans can fight Titans et al.

Saturday into the Morning: The side games.

Mixing it up, the way I've described it, would probably "kick out" a player every once in a while, someone with a forward position getting royally trounced and wiped off the table.  Almost immediately, he should be able to start another game somewhere in the hall.  As soon as two of them are able to play a game, any game, they should be able to still score points for their team.  Aeronautica?  Epic?  Poker?  All legal stuff for side game points.

Sunday Morning: Clean up and drink water.

Everything should be done.  The clean-up should be quick, minimal, and efficient. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An appeal for Big Games

Big Games, in D-Company fashion, are traditionally contests where players bring their biggest armies to the table for an Apocalypse-type fight, where players haul out their collections and put them on display for everyone else to see.  Gargantuan creatures, Superheavy vehicles, Flyers, and units too expensive to be fielded in a normal game make their appearance.  It is a time where players can show off their greatest conversions, the scope of their study of a codex, and play all day in a great contest of utter force.

I've participated in my fair share of Big Game events with the D-Company crowd.  There was (some with the names I give them)  the "Freezer Game," "Capture the Redeemer," "Assault Fort Louise," "Guns of Navarone,"  "Braden's Big Crunch," "Mungus Town," "Dan's Big Cathedral," "Bridge Game," and others.  I've come up with a few things that I'd like to see in big games over time, and am brainstorming ideas for a new one, whether or not this is the "next one" or the "next one after the next one" or after that remains to be seen.  Anyone concerned with this should bear in mind that this is just an idea, and not a plan per se, and rather a brainstorm because the subject has come up and is rolling around in my head while I am at work and is an entertaining thought to me, at best.

I'll begin with an idea of what I'd like to see in big games, or more correctly, what I'd like not to see in big games.


1) I like to see armies mix.  I don't like big games where players square off against another army for most of the battle.  Sometimes in larger games this is inevitable, but I think the best moments in big games are where armies from different codexes support one another and become part of an overall battle.

2) I like to see big games last a good number of turns.  No one feels like big games are complete after three turns, but at times big games can take hours for a single turn to complete.

3) I like to see units that aren't normally seen in smaller games.  Big games should be punctuated with special units like Titans and Gargants, Special Characters and, lest anyone forget the initialism, VDR.  A Big Game with armies of only 2,000 points aren't really big games, in my opinion.

4) A combined goal.  A Big Game should reflect an overall battle, a common theme and flavor.  Big games that lose the reason-for-the-fight get to be giant slog - fests, which are fine if you're looking for such a thing, but I, however, am not.

5) Ample real-estate.  I like to see lots of land open for the taking in Big Games, games where a forward position means more than just "a little bit ahead of the gun lines behind you."

6) Inclusion.  Armies should not be prevented from a Big Game just because they are of a "minor" codex, like Necrons or Eldar, nor should a player be prevented from coming and participating in a big game because they don't hold 5,000 points in an army, or can only come one day instead of two.  It is too bad that some people have busy lives, but would still like to come and play a few games in the company of the D, but cannot realistically commit to two days in a hotel on a bender that will take a year off their already shortened lives.

THEREFORE, with these principles in mind, I came up with the following scenario that I submit for comment.  Please feel free to comment on it here, or PM me on the D-Company website: .  My username is Pen Dull, if you haven't guessed already.

BIG GAME 201X, v. 1.0

Pre Game:  Each team chooses a General.  The general will be a "leader" of the team, responsible for his team's organization, facilitating fair team division, deployment strategy, et cetera, and answer to the game designer.  Each general will be present for both days of the game.  Each player will build a list (or lists) used on the first day from 500 - 2,000 points.  They will also build another list for the second day that will be "as big as they want."  The recommended size for this list will be from 5,000 to 10,000 points, but players should be able to handle their army correctly and efficiently and anything over 7,000 points should include really-big-stuff (like Apocalypse units).

Day One:  Players show up and play up to three games on any of the eight tables shown in the diagram below.  The first six tables will be for armies over 500 points, the last two "Skirmish Tables" will be for 500 point armies playing a "Patrol" mission.

 Why play these games?  Simply because during day one players are sometimes local, and sometimes not.  Players can "jump in" to the action immediately, start scoring points for their team.  FOR EACH GAME WON on one of the six tables the players will win a victory "chit."  These "chits" will be spent at the end of the night, to increase the deployment possibilities for his team. 

Players will arrive at the hall, set up tables, and then claim one of the eight tables and wait for an opponent.  The next able opponent that arrives (from the other team, of course) will be paired with an available opponent, and they will play a "normal" game of 40k on that table, deciding the victory conditions amongst themselves and playing at their own pace.  The winner of the game will report to his general that he has won a game, and how many "Territory Chits" he has scored for his side.  The loser of the game will be given a "Road Construction" token, and be mocked for being sent onto the road crew for a month (more on this later).

 4x6 Tables vs. Skirmish Tables: The 4x4 Skirmish tables are for 500 point armies (or less) only.  Players may match wits in a short skirmish of scouting forces, trying to secure the more tactical positions on the battlefield.  Chits won from the Skirmish Tables will be kept separate from the other chits, will be called "Skirmish Chits," and be used in a different fashion, described below.

Territory Bidding

At the end of day one, players will break down the 4x6 tables and use the terrain to populate the "big table."  Generals will meet with the game designer who will act as a mediator during the territory bidding process.  Each general will roll a die.  The winner will place a Skirmish Chit on either the Urban Wasteland or the Airport territory.  Then his opponent will do the same.  Each General will place a Skirmish Chit, one at a time, until they are all placed on either the Urban Wasteland or the Airport territory.  The greatest number of Skirmish Chits "wins" that territory, at least for now.  It is possible that a team may win both the Airport and the Urban Wasteland.

Next, the Generals will collect their Territory Chits.  Each will roll a die, and the winner will place a Territory Chit on a Territory that is adjacent to the team's General Deployment Area or a territory won by Skirmish Chits (Airport or Urban Wasteland).  Each general will then place a chit, one at a time, on any territory that already has one of his chits in it, or in a territory that is adjacent to a territory that contains one of his own chits.  This continues until the generals have no more chits to place.

Special Chit Placement: A general may, at his discretion, instead of placing a Territory Chit, discard TWO of his Territory Chits to remove any one single chit from the board. A general may also, instead of placing a Territory Chit, discard any number of chits to add a bonus number equal to the number of chits discarded to the "First Turn Roll Off."  Either way, chit placement then moves onto his opposing general.

At the end of this procedure (which seems like it would take a long time but it won't really), teams with the most chits on a territory will win that territory as a deployment zone.

Why do this whole chit thing?  The game is won by the team owning the most number of territories, and securing a forward position.  If players are skilled and daring, they may be able to deploy their forces onto a territory and stop the enemy's advance early on.  Furthermore, we might find armies almost completely surrounded and fighting off multiple enemies at one time, in a truly heroic fashion but sometimes strategical genius.

End of Day One: Players deploy their forces.  Players may place buildings they are paying for in points in the deployment zones they have won, and their forces entirely within a single zone.  Infiltrators and Scout moves are resolved, and if time is willing, opponents roll for first turn, adding bonuses for Chits discarded during the bidding phase, and an unmodified Seize the Initiative roll.  Players will refer to a table edge as the edge that their territory touches the table.

Players who DID NOT participate in the day one Skirmishes or 4x6 tables will only be able to deploy in the General Deployment area.

ROAD CREW:  What happened to the players that were on the road construction?  Players who lost a game can still help, buy using their Road Construction points to build roads.  Those will be pooled by the team, and players may trade in each to construct 12" of road.  This way, the "losers" of the pre-games will have faster access to contest objectives.  Roads can demolish non-player-purchased terrain, plowing straight through.  Players can create lines of fire, or create pathways for conga-lines of land-raiders to advance.  Bonus movement will be given for these roads.  Road building will occur before infiltrators and scout moves.

Next day, the game begins, and players duke it out.  Winning side has the most number of territories under his control, plus other cool mini objectives that will be scattered about the map (most likely using the variable objective rules in the new rulebook).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Creation of a new Homeworld

I've moved, and need to make my basement into a game and studio; I'm ready to have one for the first time in three years.  There was an office in the basement, but mold had gotten into the insulation, the walls were moldy and flaking off.  I decided to rip most of it out, and start over.

First job was to remove some of the mold that had grown in the corners.

Other minor patches of mold.  Repeated spraying with mold-killing compounds did the trick.

The mold remover at work.

This is what the walls look like all over.  Efflorescence seeps through from water.  We'll work on the outside of the house maybe next summer, but this year I'm gonna seal all this up.

This is the office with the back wall torn open for exploration.

Attached to the office was a closet which happened to be built like a bomb shelter.

This is the basement wall on the left, and the closet wall on the right-- before demolition.  I had already removed the carpeting and pried open the safe on the floor.  The "Hammer of Thor" on the safe is my old stone-carving hammer, a really useful tool in the project.

A view from the bottom of the stairs, the closet on the right and the office through the door.

The rear right corner of the office.

Demolition begins.

The water meter.  A good amount of corrosion and deposits.  Note the yellow plastic sheeting covering the wall.  This was laid [b]behind[/b] the studs and against the concrete foundation.

A good example of what I was up against.

Moisture trapped between the plastic and the concrete walls.  Note that this was during that one point during the summer of 2012 where it hadn't rained for months in Wisconsin.  As dry as it could get, but there was water behind the plastic.

Much of the construction was bizarre conglomerations of scrap wood and various materials.

The walls mostly stripped of the material.

Some old window sash parts used as framing material.

The pile of trash.

End of day one, there was so much fiberglass floating in the air it looked like it was snowing in the camera flash.
Day two I took out the closet, and it opened up the whole space.

Some of the remains of the closet, greenfield cables hanging from the ceiling and D-Company case in the background.

The demolition complete, was now time to move appliances into a pile and clean the basement for painting prep.  Note the patched concrete walls behind me, they were fuzzy with efflourescence (or however you spell it).

The basement view from where the closet once stood.

I went around the perimeter of the basement walls with a scraper blade on a reciprocating saw, exposing water seepage and loose concrete.  It took me a day-and-a-half to clean up after this procedure.

The old fridge, washer and dryer, stacked where the closet once stood.  The office door still hangs where the door once was.
My friend Joe comes over with two cases of Drylok waterseal (the oil base!) and some floor paint.  We begin coating the walls.

Respirators were mandatory.  This is the office, note the water inlet to the right.

Where the washer and dryer once was...

Around the toilet (it works, still) and the water softener.

This is the finished wall, pitted but sealed.

Then, the floor paint!

The office corner after being painted.

Where some mold once was.

A particularly bad area, where water would seep through the wall.

Finished floor.  This is the future game area.