Friday, January 24, 2014

A Song of Crack and Meth

In an effort to play more games with the limited collection of painted figures that I have ready now*, I've been dabbling in Ganesha Games' Song of... series of rules.  The results were cautiously optimistic.

After a bit more faffing about the internet, it looks more and more like my big mistake was in starting with Mutants and Death Ray Guns.  It's got no points costs, focus on low-power weapons, and a few other wrinkly bits.  It's a good starter set, but not quite the generic ruleset I was hoping for.  The consensus seems to be that Flying Lead makes a better all-around generic sci-fi skirmish set.  It's a bit more complicated, and it needs one or more quick fixes (hat tip to Dale for these) to really suit your own personal taste.  What game doesn't?  Throw in a dash of Fear and Faith for some alien (the force/psionic?) powers and you've got a nice flexible set of rules.

Which means I'm likely going to be sending another $16 Ganesha Games' way in short order.  Which brings my total investment in this beer and pretzels game to almost $40...first taste is free my friend, gotta pay for the rest.  It's an interesting business model, this Chinese water torture form of rules collection, but I'm not complaining.  Heck, some games you can't buy a figure for eight bucks, let alone a full ruleset.

*Before diving back into platoon level skirmish, I really need to paint up another couple of squads of GZG's Space Mercs with some sort of auxiliaries like power armor.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick Size Comparison

A while back I posted my 15mm sci-fi dwarf army which features a pair of heavy power armor troops.  The main force is composed of rebel miniatures with a few figs for a command squad.  The power armor consists of Hasslefree's 15mm Grymn figures.  Now you can buy assault backpack weapons that make the things look even more...mechy?  Mechish?  Mech-like?

I'm not a big fan of the sprues.  They look a little over the top for my tastes.  And I'm not a big fan of using the Grymn figures for standard power armor.  The limbs are not proportioned right to fit a human sized trooper like armor, and the chest cavity looks like a tight fit for a guy curled up in the fetal position.  Some folks disagree, and in a bid to save them from the path of error, here's a quick shot proving that I'm right.

Rebel dwarf, dwarf, GZG orc, Khurasahn human, rebel human, Hasslefree Grymn in powerarmor
Naturally, this is a YMMV situation, but if this reference photo helps folks make up their minds one way or the other, it's worth it.  Here we can see that the Grymn figures tower over humans, standing somewhere between 12 and 15 feet high.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mutant Test Drive

It's hard to be a middle-aged wargamer who doesn't own a table.  Living in limbo while searching for a decent place to live forced your humble host to choose between comfort (a sofa) and utility (a table).  Comfort won in a landslide.  Tonight, though, tonight things worked out such that the boy and I were able to steal away a corner of the living room to spread out a battlefield and take a freshly bought copy of Ganesha Games' Mutants and Death Ray Guns for a little spin.

Humans on patrol.
Mutants and Death Ray Guns is a tidy little ruleset designed for skirmishing in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  We chucked that setting and built two fairly evenly matched forces just to see how the bones of the system play out.  The rules are essentially the same as those used in a sister game called A Song of Blades and Heroes, which utilize a hybrid IGOUGO and activation system.

Orcs on a mission.

We set up a fight between two six-man (or six-orc) teams each with one leader and one specialist - a flamethrower for the humans and a light machine gun for the orcs.  After each game turn, we rolled a d6, added the turn that just ended, and if the result was 10 or more, whoever had the most guys inside the round park would be the winner. Nothing too fancy, but as I said, we wanted to try the basic game before we started to add in a bunch of different rules and exceptions. 
The battlefield.
The orcs hit the park first, with the humans setting up nice wide flanking moves, but the game was decided in turn two when the human flamethrower got hit hard and died a gruesome death.

That orc in the foreground is about to murder the yellow-suited
human on the next building over.  You can see another human
bleeding out to the right of the building, too.
We figured that the flamethrower got hit by an errant bullet and went up in a huge ball of fire.

The orcs make a run using a building for cover.
The game pretty much bogged down into a static firefight once the orcs got stuck in the park - which played to their advantage.  We found the game moved fast once you figured out the modifiers, but man, we spent four turns just shooting and rolling without a lot of maneuver.  That's probably a fair representation of a real firefight, but it got to be a little tedious after a while.  Could have been our dice rolling, too.  Lot's of low rolls and tie scores in this one.

Eventually, the humans made a rush for things, but they waited a little too long.  After turn six the game was over, with the orcs fully in charge.  Each side had lost two figures - one away from a forced morale check.

Power sword orc leader about to make minced human.
The whole game took just over an hour - fifteen minutes longer than it says on the tin - but we may be able to speed that up with a little more experience.  It also felt a little flat, but our forces were practically mirror images of each other.  A few more special abilities and differing skills and such (like a horde army against a small elite force) should freshen things up a bit more, too.

I'll go into a little more depth on the rules and what we did right and wrong later.  For now, it's good to be back even with a half-assed AAR like this one.