Saturday, January 28, 2012


The state highways looked a bit cartoonish, what with the too bright colors.  The plan called for a dark stain that would seal the gravel, protect the paint, and tone down those colors.  The plan failed:

Those turned out way darker than anticipated.  Looks like they need a few more coats of paint.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Road Construction Ahead

Just two quick shots of the roads in progress.  Looks like the markout crews in the 2050s are as accurate as they are today.  That red dirt looks really, really red, but these are Hawai'i roads; red is the color of most of the rich flatland soil.  So it works.  I'll throw some bone tan on top for one more layer of color before staining the boards black.  That'll tone down the color a notch, too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Two For The Road(side)

Slapped together some stands for the billboards.  The ads were designed and printed on a standard printer then glued to each side of a...whatever you call that thick cardstock they use for mounting artwork.  It's roughly 2mm thick and makes a great backing and decent stands for the billboards.  You can get 8x10 sheets for a buck at the local framing shop.

Those are 20mm figs for scale.
For the boards themselves, I hot glued bamboo skewers cut to size around the cardstock.  I drilled four small holes in the base to give them a little more stability.  These will look better once I paint the wood frames and gussy up the stands a bit.  Think I'll wait until I'm done with the roads first, though - I want to try and match the stands to my terrain boards to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Monday, January 23, 2012

More Billboards

A couple of billboards ought to help break up the monotony of the autoduel patch of highway.  Keeping this a local affair I whipped up a handful of local kine ads.

Things get a little complicated at this point.  Here in Hawaii, the home of your humble blogger, there's an outfit called Outdoor Circle.  These cats are dedicated to, among other things, keeping any and all billboards off the highways.  That means we're gonna have to assume that the Outdoor Circle lost some influence during the food and fuel riots.  Oh, they'll still be around, but in my little 'verse they've changed their goals to be more in line with the autoduel zeigeist:

Gotta be honest on this one, not sure what "Defend Hawaii" means.  It's a really popular local t-shirt logo, but normally you see it with an M-16 rather than a tricked out Div 5 car with front mounted machine gun and spike plates on the front.  I did a simple swap to update the defend Hawaii meme for the 2030s.

Eddie Aikau is a local hero who sacrificed his life to save others by attempting to paddle 12 miles across the open ocean on a surfboard.  They named the Quicksilver Big Wave Invitational surf contest in Waimea Bay after him.  That's the one that they only hold when waves are banging at 20-plus feet.  Nowadays, "Eddie Would Go" is a common slogan you see on bumper stickers, shirts, and whatevas - mainly to indicate that you're not afraid of a little big surf.  No surprise so see that Eddie's spirit lives on in the days of autoduelling.

Every highway needs at least one billboard advertising foodstuffs for the hungry autoduellist.  I already used Soylent Green on an arena billboard once, so I had to come up with a different future food.  What could be better than Futurama's Slurm?  The local kine Slurm - Plate Lunch style!  Plate Lunch is the local vernacular for a six dollar styrofoam box filled with a little meat, a little cole slaw, and a heckuva lotta carbs.

You can click on and use these boards on your own terrain if you want.  They are so local in flavor, that they probably won't do you a whole lot of good.  But trust me, these things are gonna crack people up at the game days in Honolulu.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mystery Revealed!

Hope the suspense didn't kill you.  If it did, then the fact that you're reading this post is very troubling.    So here are my latest terrain tiles.  Those of you who have been following this blog won't be surprised to learn that these tiles are destined to become terrain for Car Wars.  All told, we're going to wind up with 4 straightaways, two 90-degree turns, and two intersections.  

For road battles that gives us 6-feet of straightaways that we can swap in and out as the autoduellists roar down whatever is left of H-1.  Or we can line the road sections up to create an oval-track for more prestigious arena battles, like so:

Small tracks limit the speeds, and forces players to carefully consider their
mine dropping lest the kill themselves.
 Pay close attention to the intersection pieces.  They were designed to be used both to cap off one end of the oval track, and to create shallow S-curves for highway battles.  That means that these tiles provide 6-feet of straight highway before you have to re-use tiles.
The edges should join a little smoother on a flat table.
As of these pictures, the tiles have been primed gray for the road and tan for the off-road.  A little sand sprinkled all over gives different textures for the road and off-road.  Fine grained sand keeps the road from being ice-rink smooth, and a mix of fine and coarse sand helps delineate the off-rad areas.

These roads should wind up four lane roads - two in each direction.  The challenge here is keeping each lane a consistent width.  In the last set of photos, you can just make out the guide marks on the edges of each board.  The solid lines delineate a 1" wide sandy shoulder, with each lane 1" wide, and a 1/4"-edge to the asphalt.  All told, that gives us 4.5" of safe surface, 1" of shoulder hazard, and the rest of the board the far more dangerous off-road.  That's a total of 6.5-inches of playable surface for each stretch of highway, even if a couple of those should only be used in emergencies.

Normally, you wouldn't want to cut your playable surface in half like that, but for running road battles it works just fine.  It also give me room to plunk down some interesting terrain like billboards, trees, rocks, and Road-Runner-esque stone columns.  From a practical standpoint, those can block line of site in the arena.  Outside of the arena, they'll give the boards more variety and keep it from looking like the same six feet of road.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Project - The Suspenseful Post

Ahhh, the sweet, sweet anticipation of a project not yet fully planned, not yet begun, and not yet totally screwed up. Gimme a little time on that third one.  After a bit of fol-de-rol at the hardware store, I managed to get 8 tiles of 12" by 12" pressed board home. 
Eight square feet of battleground.
These boards always come warped, so you've got to flatten them out.  Finally a chance to get some use out all those weights.  Knew I kept them around for a reason.
Actually, I'm a beast.  Use these
all the time.
As this is a suspense post, you'll have to wait to learn what's in store for these bad boys.  Here's a hint: it involves sand, paint, and miniature wargames.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

AK-47 Reloaded

Should I put real money down on AK-47?  That's the question I've been asking myself since this past weekend's test drive. 

It took an hour to play the first turn of the game.  Part of that is the process of figuring out rules for the first time.  Part of that is the Political and Setup Phases of AK-47.  We fudged a few numbers to speed things up, so in the final analysis, that's probably a pretty good indication of what to expect.

On the other hand, the last nine turns of the game took us a little over an hour.  That's a pretty good sign.  We're looking for a fast playing game that we can throw down and pack up in 2-3 hours, so this seems to fit.

On the other other hand, it looks like we're going to need a lot more figures that I anticipated.  The two forces that we fielded featured 30-40 stands each.  Not a large number by miniature wargame standards, but that's still probably more than I can comfortably store in the house.  Budget wise, I'm looking at Irregular Miniatures 6mm range and my rough guess is that we're looking at about a buck a stand.  Call it $100 for two matched forces with all the trimmings.

And that's not including the terrain tiles. If I can't think of a way to tighten up the storage requirements, I may have to go with another arena-based game.  I'm hearing good things about Habet Hoc Habet (Flagship Games) and 5150 (Two Hour Wargames)...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


This post has nothing to do with miniature wargaming.  You've been warned.

Big fan of college football here.  I've spent the last month whining and bitching and moaning like a little girl over the travesty that is an in-conference bowl game - and a national championship game no less!  This is an outrage that makes a mockery of everything that college football is supposed to stand for.  It's the worst thing to happen to America since slavery.  And I don't even like Oklahoma State.

Frankly, I just couldn't be bothered to watch the title game this year.  I've seen LSU-Alabama and lost interest in the season after the Orange Bowl.  I wasn't disinterested enough to start jawing with some of the guys over on a sports related message board.  One thing led to another, as these things often do, and a bet was made.  If the BCS title game had really good ratings, then I'd sport a My Little Pony avatar for six months.
This one right here.
I even made My Little Pony avatars for a few other posters there.  Here's the two I made for a Georgia Tech fan:

The ratings for the game were the lowest in almost a decade, if not ever.  As a statement of how seriously I take the whole thing, I've been wearing this thing for the last few weeks anyway.  Now that I've won the bet, I'm just wearing it because I can.  In the meantime, those of us that won the bet have to come up with an avatar that the SEC fans who lost the best have to wear for a month.

Here's my first choice:
Just try being taken seriously on a sports
board sporting this little number.
But the message board in question generally requires an avatar that is sports related.  This is sports related - it's got "Team" in it!  In the event that the board rejects Team Edward, I've got this as a backup:

When in doubt, keep it simple.
This concludes our brief interlude.  Thank you for your indulgence.

Monday, January 9, 2012

AK-47 Test Drive

Before jumping headlong into the AK-47 Republic game, I put together a basic ‘test drive kit’ using plain cardboard marked up with markers.  A few big irregular chunks for terrain, and me and my son were off to the races.
Now that's budget terrain.
The main event featured a People’s Religious Movement (PRM) defending their town from the Superpower backed client state.   During the political phase, the PRM wound up with a fast moving militia unit and an extra technical.  The Client State wound up with an extra tank.
The forces in play.
Here we see one PRF militia unit in the town in the upper left, and one covering the woods and farmhouse in the lower right.  Three technicals patrol the shore of Lake Cheapo, and two truck mounted AA guns are parked on the hill in the upper right.  The client state really wanted that big town bad.
The calm before the storming.
The fight centered on a bloody battle for the town.  The Client State militia wrested it from the PRM, but found themselves assaulted by truck mounted reinforcements.  The dead of both sides piled deep along the town’s boundary.  
Cardboard Stalingrad.
Reinforcements arrived on the same turn for both sides.  The client state bum rushed the third objective - a radio tower.  On the opposite side of the table, the PRM used regular foot troops mounted in pickup trucks to strike back at the town center.  The technicals hid behind the second hill, waiting for the final turn.  At the last moment, the rolled well and made a rush for the objective hill.  The tanks took a couple of pot shots, but couldn't knock them both out.  Daylight ran out with all three objectives very much in dispute.

That chopper didn't do well against the technicals.
After tallying up the victory points, the world’s press declares a victory for the PRM and sells a lot of papers.

Lessons learned:
  • Technicals really are useful.  Fast, effective, and only a little fragile, they handled really well.
  • We’re going to need a lot of casualty markers.  There must be a better way, though.  We were only using cardboard, and the city fight we would up with casualty markers piled three deep.  Not sure how that will work with actual miniatures.
  • Tanks are really hard to knock out.  We didn’t field any RPGs, and it hurt the PRM.  The AA guns barely scratched the tanks, too.  The only thing that saved the foot based army was the fact that the tanks couldn’t move fast enough to keep up with the rest of their army, and they got bogged down holding a hillside objective marker.  If they’d had free rein, they could have done a lot more damage.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Project Time

Coming Soon Eventually
Picked up a copy of this fun little ruleset recently.  Tinkering with force selection and terrain needs.  Need to figure out whether or not it can be done cheap and portable.

First need to make sure game is worth spending real money on.  Will test drive them tomorrow.

Considering near-future post-nuke America.  Religious sects, secessionist states, tinpot dictators.  Shouldn't be too hard.

Stay tuned.