Monday, January 17, 2011

Star Wars: The Kosse Saga

Era: Nearly one and a half years after the destruction of the first Death Star.

Kosse Sector is a small region of galactic space between the fringe worlds and the Core Systems. It is home to numerous planets and moons, held firmly in the grip of Imperial Rule. I'm thinking of writing a bunch of short stories about this region, centered on the adventures and villainy of some Rebel and Imperial characters, and perhaps making some miniatures scenarios based around some of the battles.

I'm still working out point values for them, but the main characters I'm playing around with at the moment are these:

General Droske

One of the powerful commanders of the Imperial military, General Droske is suspected to be in charge of numerous secret experiments and military operations. Where he goes, terror, death and destruction are sure to follow. He inspires complete obedience in his troops - by giving them something other than Rebel forces to fear.

Move: 6" / 12"
Hits: 5
Defence: 14
Attack: 6
Weapon: Blaster

Special Abilities
Death to Traitors (If the Imperial force is broken, Droske can execute one Imperial figure within range, to avoid anyone else in the force having to make a courage roll)
Offensive Tactics (During the shooting phase, a single commander/captain within 6" gains an additional attack)

Shade Moonkiller

Shade Moonkiller is a dreaded Imperial assassin and lethal starfighter pilot. He travels the stars hunting down rebel leaders and heroes. Rumor has it he was the only surviving subject of one of Droske's experiments. Supposedly, special crystals were used upon dying Jedi during the Jedi Purge, to attempt to siphon Force Energy from the dying warriors. These crystals were then embedded in test subjects, in attempts to manifest Force powers. Whether the assassin really has Force abilities or not, is unknown by the Alliance. One thing which has been made clear, is the assassin's desire to eliminate the mercenary warrior Jord Sunstorm - the one prey that has managed to continually elude him. This appears to have driven Sunstorm into the service of the Rebel Alliance, though the mercenary's allegiance to Alliance goals remains uncertain.

Move: 6" / 12"
Hits: 5
Defence: 16
Attack: 6
Weapon: Repeating Blaster

Special Abilities
Unnatural Fear (Force Power, no Cost: Rebels within 9" suffer -4 to their attack and courage rolls. This has no effect on force users (Jedi / Sith / etc) or those resistant to Force powers.)
Compulsion (Force Power, no Cost: at any time during a single game round, one rebel can be moved up to 3" in any direction, as long as they do not harm themselves (no walking off a cliff), though they can do things like stepping out of cover. Range: Line of Sight / 9". This has no effect on force users (Jedi / Sith / etc) or those resistant to Force powers.)
Assassin (This character gains double their attacks against captains/leaders/heroes)

Jord Sunstorm

Sunstorm is a mysterious figure - a cold hearted, harsh and seemingly ruthless mercenary, who has on numerous occassions 'happened' to be present when Imperial forces sought to eliminate a young Rebel leader - the Lady Launa Kosse. At first the Rebels thought the mercenary to be an Imperial Spy, but wherever he goes, a large Imperial body count is sure to follow. Recently he has thrown himself in fully with the Rebel Alliance, but on the condition that he be the personal bodyguard of the Lady Kosse. While Launa Kosse can't help but appreciate his skill in battle, the blessing of his guardianship can also be a curse - for wherever the mercenary goes, the Imperial assassin Shade Moonkiller is sure to follow...

Move: 6" / 12"
Hits: 8
Defence: 17
Attack: 8
Weapon: Repeating Blaster

Special Abilities
Accurate Shot (No penalty for firing at enemies that are behind cover)
Mobile Attack (Can move, shoot, and move some more)
Hole in the Force (For some unknown reason, force powers do not seem to effect him in any way. The secret of this power may be one of the reasons the Emperor has placed a death sentence upon him)

Lady Launa Kosse

The young Lady Launa Kosse is the last surviving member of the hereditary ruling family of the Kosse Sector. As a young child, her family was betrayed by her late father's advisor, Lord Kanell, who now governs as Imperial Overseer of the Kosse Sector. Often seen as emotional and brash, the young rebel leader does what she can to fight back against the Empire, in the hope that one day her people can be free from its tyranny. While Lord Kanell's soldiers hunt her down, as he seeks to remove any threat to his power, the mysterious mercenary Jord Sunstorm continues to come to her rescue - though his motives in protecting her are unclear.

Move: 6" / 12"
Hits: 5
Defence: 14
Attack: 7
Weapon: Blaster

Special Abilities
Mobile Attack (Can move, shoot, and move some more)
Luck 2 (Twice per game, she can re-roll one die - whether Rebel or Imperial dice)
Reinforcements (As long as she is alive: whenever a non-unique figure is defeated, roll 1d20. On a 16+, the same figure type enters the board from the Rebel home edge, as a reinforcement.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

washing troops and colouring elites

I've applied a devlin mud wash to all the hoth troopers, and a badab black wash to all the snowtroopers. It will be a bit before they are fully dry, but I wanted to post a photo of the group in progress. I also got some shadow grey (a bluish colour) and some blazing orange, and I coloured the shoulder pads / shoulder bands of the elites, to make them into 'squad captains'. Basically, a bit of colour to set them apart more from the troops. I was watching Star Wars IV, and in mos eisley, only the trooper giving orders seemed to have orange pads, the others had black pads, so I decided that command figures will have coloured pads to set them apart from troops. It also makes it easier to spot them when glancing around the table top.

Anyway, here's some pics! As always, click on them for full image.

Friday, January 14, 2011

to-hit-rolls and cover rules, and some more skirmishes

The hoth trooper and snowtrooper have different stats, but they work out to having the same 'to hit target' roll number. The elite hoth trooper is 1 point better in stats, and the elite snowtrooper is 1 point better in defence but 2 points better in attack, which seems like a mistake to me - as both elites are worth the same amount of points. So, I play that both elites are only 1 point better, so it is balanced.

So, I've worked out a little list of to-hit rolls, and am printing out a little to-hit card to easily refer to while playing. Basically, my different terrain sets fall into three categories of cover; light (a knee high barrier), medium (a waist high barrier) and heavy (covers most of the body, but has opening or head is still visible, like a wall with a window in it).

Rolls for:
A soldier shooting at a soldier:
11+ to hit in the open (no cover)
13+ to hit if around 30% covered (light cover)
15+ to hit if around 50% covered (medium cover)
17+ to hit if aroun 80% covered (heavy cover)

A soldier shooting at an elite:
12+ to hit in the open (no cover)

14+ to hit if around 30% covered (light cover)
16+ to hit if around 50% covered (medium cover)
18+ to hit if aroun 80% covered (heavy cover)

An elite shooting at a soldier:
10+ to hit in the open (no cover)

12+ to hit if around 30% covered (light cover)
14+ to hit if around 50% covered (medium cover)
16+ to hit if aroun 80% covered (heavy cover)

So it looks like elites have a one point advantage in combat, as well as their having 3 hit points instead of just 2, and elites also deal out 20 damage - so they can kill a normal soldier in one shot.

Anyway, dealing with just two types of figures - troops and elites - makes it quite simple to play a game at the moment, because there's no constant having to work out what score needs to be rolled to hit someone. I'll probably add heroes/commanders for both sides into the mix at some stage.

Light Cover

Medium Cover

Heavy Cover

And some more skirmish pics :)

these four guys shot back and forth at each other, and each of them were hit!

Another board setup: a small rebel comm outpost surrounded by imperial forces! (Tried this one using the camera's flash. I think I prefer photos without the flash. Though it certainly shows the texture of the board!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Battle Report: Icy Power Station

(Edit: 13/Jan/2011: I forgot to write what happened on Turn Six. I've added that final turn now to this report)

In the snowy plains of Korr, rebels and imperial forces fight for control of resources and various complexes. Two groups encounter each other near a rebel power station, as a snow storm grows fiercer around them. The station must be held against the imperial assault at any cost!

Special Rules:
A d20 is set to 15. This represents 15" of range in which a unit can see - and fire upon - another unit. Every turn, the storm grows worse, and this number counts down, making units have to get closer to one another to be able to shoot. To make things worse, it is getting colder, and another die counts down until anyone caught outside will begin to freeze to death. There are 12 turns to win the fight, or die! If a side wins the battle, they can use nearby shelters to survive the worst of the storm, and await for reinforcements to come and take full control of the power station.

As usual, click on any image for a bigger one.

Here's the map setup:

Each squad has four troopers and an elite trooper. In this scenario, it is cold weather troops (hoth figures and snowtroopers).

Each turn, there is a movement phase, and a firing phase. In the movement phase, whoever rolls priority (highest roll) moves their figures first, then the opponent moves their figures. In the firing phase, anyone who can fire does so. It is considered to take place 'simultaneously' so if someone is killed, lie them on their side, but they can still shoot as normal in the firing phase. After all possible shots are fired, then dead people are removed. Wounds are marked with red gemstone counters.

Turn One
Storm Level 1 / Visibility 15"
Priority: Rebels
The rebels advance along both sides of the board, heading for suitable cover. The Imperials do the same.
Since both sides ran full distance, no shooting takes place this turn. Arrows show where units moved from to their end-of-turn positions.

Turn Two
Storm Level 2 / Visibility 14"
Priority: Imperials

On the right side, snowtroopers stand firm behind barrel cover, ready to fire upon the rebels. On the left, the snowtroopers advance, moving for a small hill and higher ground. (I play that units above other units can ignore the cover defence of enemies for normal cover, but still have the cover penalty with heavy cover.)
Meanwhile, the rebels make themselves secure behind cover, while on the left, some move behind the heavy cover of some large rubble.

Luck is with the rebels in the firing phase! Only one rebel gets injured, and it takes 2 hits to kill a trooper, a 3 hits to kill an elite. On the Imperial side, five snowtroopers are struck by blaster fire! Red gems show who has taken damage.

Turn ThreeStorm Level 3 / Visibility 13"
Priority: Imperials again!

On the right, an elite snowtrooper and another trooper move out from behind the barrels, and forward to some more cover - the reduced visibility beginning to effect firing ranges. On the left, the other elite and a snowtrooper start to flank up the left side of the board, while other snowtroopers move up onto the high ground of the hill, to shoot over the rebels' cover. The rebels stay pretty much where they were, except for two on the right who must similarly move forwards from their cover, to enter the reduced weapon ranges.

In the firing phase, two snowtroopers and one rebel are slain. Another rebel takes a wound, but it is only his first. On the left, the elite rebel behind heavy cover is shot from the side by a snowtrooper on the hill - the cover doesn't protect him from that direction!

Turn Four
Storm Level 4 / Visibility: 12"
Priority: Rebels

The rebels on the left, behind the heavy cover, try to arrange themselves better to fight the incoming flankers. Meanwhile, the two rebels out in the open charge forwards to some rubble, opposite two snowtroopers. The imperials stay firing from their current positions, except for the two flanking up the side, who move around past the heavy cover the rebels were in before.

Three snowtroopers go down in a hail of fire, while more take wounds from the rebels. The elite snowtroopers are lucky in that they need three hits to kill them. Only a couple of rebels take hits, the rest manage to avoid attacks.

Turn Five
Storm Level: 5 / Visibility: 11"

Breaking Point: Half of the snowtroopers have been slain. When a force reaches half strength, all figures must roll, every turn, and get 15 or less to stay in the battle (or the flee - that is, 'strategically withdraw'). They all pass this courage test.

Priority: Rebels
The rebels are heavily wounded, but still in the fight - and encouraged by the strong losses on the imperial side. The rebels on the right and in the middle maintain their firing positions, though soon they will have to move, with the worsening storm, to enter weapon ranges. On the left, the two rebels being flanked head right, toward the middle of the board and better cover options.

The flanking snowtroopers have now passed the heavy cover, and are in the rear, behind all the rebels - a good position to attack from - if they can stay in the battle long enough.

In the firing phase, over on the right an elite snowtrooper falls dead behind the barrels. Meanwhile, the flanking snowtroopers on the left take out a rebel trooper!

Turn Six
(EDIT: I just realised I forgot to write turn six on here - during the Breaking phase, at the start of the turn, two of the snowtroopers ran away! This meant the force was now reduced to just 1/5 of their starting number, causing the remaining imperials flee the battlefield.)

End Of Game
The Imperials are now at 1/5 strenght (2 remaining out of 10 troops), and the battle is over. The imperials, seeing they cannot win against much greater number, flee the battlefield. The rebels maintain contol over the power station, and take shelter from the dangerous storm. After the storm has passed, rebel reinforcements arrive to dig in and fortify the position.

Victory for the Rebels!

snow plains scenery day #4

Well, it's now been 24 hours since I applied the wet glue coat. I'm pretty sure now it was wetter than it should have been. Some patches on the board are STILL wet, and I had fans on it all day yesterday, windows open to air it all night. I even waved a hairdrier over it for a fair while yesterday. Some parts are pretty dry, but still a little sticky. Other parts are completely dry and hard to the touch.

I'm wondering now if I need some spray glue, to add some gluey stickiness to the wet patches, forcing them to gum up and go solid... Not sure. I'll see how it goes over the course of the day.

Anyway, here's a couple more photos!

Put together length-ways, makes a long battlefield corridor:

however, doing it lengthways makes it pretty thin. Wide enough for a small group only:

If I did another two boards, and laid them all out in this direction, I could completely cover my table and have a 1m x 1.5m board (around 3 feet x 5 feet).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

AT-AT: testing size of snow boards

Just testing the overall size of the board. It still hasn't dried fully, it's a little sticky to touch, but I've found that it doesn't come off anymore if touched, so it's safe to sit things on it anywhere - temporarily - at the moment.

The map can be made longer, but thinner, if put end to end, instead of sitting the boards width-ways against each other, but I'll try that later. I think a long, thin map, would be good for vehicles, with more room to move between opposing ends, while the current layout (short, wide map) would be better suited for squads of infantry.

It's only 2.5 feet by 3 feet layed out this way (I think) so it's a lot smaller than many large-scale wargaming tables, and probably not suitable for armies with 50 soldiers in them - but this size is still lots of room to manoeuvre with smaller squads of figures, and should be quite interesting with lots of scenery and cover objects scattered across it.

I sat some gravel from our driveway to be larger boulders - they're the same colour as the smaller citedal 'slate' gravel I glued to the board earlier. I figure the larger boulders can be kept loose, and simply scattered on the board after scenery objects have been placed. I'm not gluing them on, because that would permanently limit how scenery could be laid out.

The black border is just the non-slip underlay of the Citedal grass 'battlemat'. (I just liked the look of having a black border beneath the boards)

snow plains scenery day #3 part 2

It still hasn't fully set, but a good portion is now dry to touch (though I'm still being quite careful with it).

I thought I'd do something I did a while back for my LOTR figures, and that is, anything will look better with a backdrop :)

I searched google images for ages, for "snow backdrop" and eventually found a scene, which I cropped and resized to go along one end of my table! Here's a pic that shows some of it!

snow plains scenery day #3

Well, I ended up getting two boards done. I didn't have enough materials to do a third, so I turned the third sheet of foamboard into a backdrop image to lean up against the wall, behind the table.

After brushing off all the loose sugar (what a mess!) I then applied a thick lathering of wet glue all over the top of the two boards. I actually put too much water, and it was quiet wet, so I'm hoping it will dry okay.

After brushing the wet glue all over the surface, I then scattered small 'slate' gravel all over the board, and made it thicker in streaks in some areas. Then I glued some bigger 'slate' stone pieces (still pretty small things) making sure to pick ones that were wide and long, but relatively flat, so they wouldn't cause problems when sitting sceney on top of the board.

The wet glue had a good side, in that it allowed the gravel stuff to half sink into the board, which should make it set better into the surface, but also looks in some places like it is beneath the snow/ice.

The light gray colour of the foam board has given a kind of shadowy tint to the thinner/clearer parts of the board, letting the thicker sugar areas stand out a bit more, which I quite like.

Using a hairdrier, I managed to get a part of the board relatively dry, and sat stuff on it to take some photos, to get an idea of what the finished board will be like to use.

and here's what the two boards look like at the moment (though they are still drying)

Monday, January 10, 2011

snow plains scenery day #2

Well, I worked out a nice method using castor sugar and white glue, and tested it yesterday on a figure base.
Today I went shopping!

I got three foam board sheets - greyish ones, rather than white ones, as they were much cheaper.

I got two bottles of white glue, some packets of castor sugar, and a big thick brush.

I started by squeezing out lines up/down and sideways across the board, then with a very wet brush, wiped the glue all over the surface.
Then I sifted sugar from the bowl, in a diagonal pattern, until the whole board was covered with sugar.
Then I dry-brushed across the surface of the board, spreading the sugar into the glue, and also it made a sort of rough patches and interesting textures with the sugar/glue.
I waited a little bit, then I covered the board again, much thicker, piling sugar on in places.

This will wait overnight, so the glue/sugar hardens into the board surface.

Tomorrow I will brush off all the piles of loose sugar (making sure to collect it so I can use it on the next board) and then thinly brush glue all over the surface of the board again to seal the surface and give it a good icy shine.

The idea is that I start the first board today, then tomorrow it is ready to finish, and I start the second board, then the next day it is ready to finish, and I start the third board, and then the fourth day, it is ready to finish, and I end up with three boards than can cover my table.

I'll be adding small rocks, gravel and some small patches of dirt/grass in some areas of the boards as well.

It will be pretty flat - no undulating hills or anything, but it should have a nice texture to it. I can then sit scenery objects on top of it. I actually wanted a big 4x6 foot gaming table, but I don't have room in my place for a table that big to be set up - and to be able to walk around it to play.

This table will be around 75cm x 150cm, or 30" x 60". (2.5 foot x 5 foot) as that is the shape of three foamboard sheets side by side.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

snow environment project

I did some more work today, trying to find a good snow-looking system for basing figures - that could also be applied on a large scale to make a snow table. The idea is to get sheets of foamboard, and make snowy plains. It won't be pure Hoth, there will be tufts of grass, bits of stone, maybe some patches of grass and gravel flocking, so it goes with a range of games and figures.

Anyway, I brushed off the loose castor sugar today, and the result was pretty hard. I still wanted a glossier, icier look to it though, and I wanted a protective coating over the castor sugar, so that insects wouldn't be attracted to it, so I brushed white glue on top as an additional layer which will remain unpainted - so it retains a reflective sparkle about it.

Anyway, I think it's almost finished drying now, so I took a photo of my test figure. I quite like the texture of it, sort of a lumpy, frosty white :) Around the sides, it has a kind of bubbled look to it, not sure about that, but I like the top surface a lot!

Anyway, here's my star wars cold weather forces that I am going to do at the moment. I divided some hoth trooper and snowtrooper forces into squads of four soldiers with a commander. The commander is just a different variation of the figure, on a round base. Then there's two tripod guns for each force.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snow test

I've wanted a proper snow table for putting my snowtroopers and hoth troopers on, as well as for playing other miniatures games with, and have been thinking of ways to do it, other than my current method - which is a white bedsheet spread across the table.

I came upon a tutorial:

I don't have all those materials, but I thought I'd do an experiment, and tomorrow I'll see how it turned out!

I mixed white glue with a little bit of white paint and citedal asurman blue ink wash, and mixed that paste with castor sugar. I then spread it onto a miniatures base, which I then piled castor sugar on top of. I'm hoping the castor sugar will form a crust on top, when left over night, then I can brush off the loose sugar. To stop ants attacking it, I can spray the whole thing with dull coat or something. Anyway, I'll see how it turns out when I remove the loose sugar from on top tomorrow.

I forgot to take a photo of the paste mixture, but here's a pic showing the base covered in the paste, and then sugar piled on top. A very snowy appearance so far!