Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Necromancer War, Chapter 1

Neil Thomas' book, One Hour Wargames, is worth buying for the scenarios if nothing else. It includes 30 different scenarios of all sorts - symmetric, asymmetric, full terrain, open field, delaying actions, you name it.  While they are written specifically for the rest of the rules in the book, they are presented in a format simple enough to use with any mass battle ruleset.  For this campaign, in the manner of our people, we simply rolled a d30 to choose an initial skirmish.

The dice indicated that the first battle fought in the Necromancer War was an assault by the Necromancer King's forces to secure two strongpoints just inside the Targar Kingdom (Scenario 21 - Twin Objectives).  The first objective consisted of a high hill in the center of the plains and an adjacent fortified farmstead.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The First Necromancer War, a 6mm Wargame Campaign

The completion of the latest big box presents a first chance at playing Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames the right way - fully based and painted figures, full color terrain, and every option in the book available to both players.  To kick things off, and help us stay motivated to play more battles, the boy and I decided to play a five fight narrative campaign using a random assortment of scenarios from the rulebook.

To remind those of you following along at home, we have to matched forces built to spec.  In the left corner,wearing the green and purple, and flying banners bearing a flaming eyed goat's head, are the forces of  the vile and demonic Necromancer King.

In the other corner, wearing red and gold and flying banners bearing theme and variation on the dragon head motif, are the knights, nobles, and freemen of the peace loving Targar Kingdom.

Guess which force your humble narrator controls.  Yeah, this is not going to be a terribly fair and biased history of the as-yet-unfolded Necromancer War.

First we diced off to decide who would be the aggressor and who the defender.  He won the toss and elected to invade the Kingdom of the Targars.  So there you have it - pick your forces, roll off for attacker, and you're ready for a campaign.  Easy peasey.

Next Time:  The Necromancer King Attacks!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

One Hour Wargame Big Box - Complete!

Three and a half months early, the One Hour Wargame Big Box is complete.  Sort of*.

The Rules as Written call for a maximum of three feet of road way.  One piece of bass wood from the local craft store gives you enough material to make a much more flexible amount of roadway.  I went ahead and built up a fork, crossroad, tight curve, and a couple more random lengths.  You never know - this box might work well with my 10mm fantasy figures for skirmishing as well.

Here's a shot of the road where it meets the river and bridge with the medieval farmhouse for as well.
One more close-up.
* If you're a wargamer, you know these things are never really done.  At some point I'd like to make some scatter terrain like a circle of standing stones or a wizards tower.  Maybe a few isolated trees and rock outcrops.  And this terrain would work well with a matched pair of dark ages armies, too.  The possibilities are limited, but the hours are not.  So for's time to actually use this stuff.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Spirit is Willing, But Weak

Still not done with the medieval Big Box, and I have been a really good boy.  My New Year's Resolution was to complete the Big Box before starting any new projects.  Until this week, I hadn't purchased any figures or rule sets all year.  And then Osprey had to announce a near future sci-fi skirmish featuring spies, secret agents, and special forces types.  Black Ops.

Yep.  I pre-ordered it.  At less than ten bucks for a hard copy, it was too much for my feeble resistance.

Well, since it doesn't come out until mid-October, I still have plenty of time to finish my current project before kicking back over to catching up on my 15mm sci-fi lead pile.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Session 11 - Beneath Malvern Manor

When last we left our band of plucky heroes they had descended below the depths of Malvern Manor in an attempt to locate a powerful artifact.  At last, a second dungeon to warm the cockles of this old gamer's heart.

Yolo and Gilgamesh elected to sit out the initial foray into the dungeon where the party easily handled a small squad of ghouls and purple molds.  The party returned to the surface and escorted them to a small chapel of Torm where the group made a solid attempt at a long rest.  The night was interrupted by four robed figures passing by the party's rest area and deeper into the cave.  Yolo, as a elf requiring no sleep and little rest, was on watch, followed the squad through the halls and through a massive cavern filled top to bottom with spiders and webs.  The only was through was to sneak into a small cage and descend into a tunnel that bypassed most of the cavern.  Too far from help, Yolo returned and let the rest of his friends catch up on their sleep.

Lower right - sacred chapel of Torm for all your long rest needs.
The large open cavern is chock a block filled with spiders and webs of all sizes.
All together now, the party penetrated beyond the spider hall - most likely the source for the spiders that had taken over the surface portion of Malvern Manor - and squeezed through a narrow hall into a room filled with several large rodents and swarms of lesser vermin feasting on a corpse.  Yolo leaped into the fore, and engaged all of the giant vermin almost single handedly.  Bottled up in the hallway, the rest of the party shrieked like grade school girls at a slumber party as they swatted ineffectually at the swarms.

Beyond the spider cavern.  Yolo single handedly slays a swarm
of four giant rats while the rest of the party struggles with a few small
swarms of normal rats and bats.
The giant rats took advantage of their superior numbers to tear Yolo to shreds.  (Read:  Four giant rats attacking with advantage for several rounds guarantees a few critical hits.  Yolo took five crits in two rounds.)  Without the timely intervention of the half-orc paladin, Mordred, and his potent healing, Yolo might not have survived his fight.  Which is all part of the plan, as a standard fighter, Yolo's job is to take punishment and serve as a damage soak while the heavy hitters work their literal magic.

A brief look at the corpse revealed the last of the missing guardsmen, but no clues to the mysterious interlopers.

The next cavern in the complex proved to be a mushroom forest filled with deadly fungi of every variety.  While each species on it's own would be easy to deal with, having all of them in close proximity made for quite a conundrum.  You couldn't fight the violent ones without triggering the ones that spew poison spores.  You couldn't sneak past the ones that shrieking in bright light without getting too close to the ones that reach out and grab you.  After puzzling over spells that might help, the crew hit on an easy solution - a silence spell and dousing all artificial light.  The inhuman members of the party relied on infravision to escort their human friends out of the cave.

The next room proved to be the last - a large tomb inhabited by the surviving Malvern Brother, Lucius, and his undead minions consisting of two zombie ogres, a dozen human zombies, and a few skeletons.  In a case of mistaken identity, the necromancer assumed that the party was sent by the Dragon Cult to kill him, and was angry that the Cult had betrayed him.  Through a rage spittle filled rant, it became clear that this fellow was holding out hope that the Cult would resurrect a Dracolich, per the terms of his agreement, and their attempt to craft a hoard large enough to bring Tiamat to Faerun was simply not kosher in his book.
The final confrontation with a betrayed Dragon Cult leader,
and his zombie ogre, zombie, and skeletal servants.
The colorful circles in the south chamber show the
mushroom maze of death.
Whoever he was, he wasted no time in summoning more skeletal reinforcements from the mushroom maze - their arrival preceded by a piercing wail from the shriekers in the previous room.  The party elected to wipe out the crazed necromancer's minons first - they were closest to the party after all.  Once they were dispatched, Lucius went down hard and fast.

And that's when the real trouble began...

Monday, September 7, 2015

Five Feet of Rivers

Happy Labor Day.  For my labor of the day, I finished off some river pieces.

A single piece of 3-inch by 24-inch bass wood was enough to make five feet of rivers.  Using the RAW, you'll never need more than 36-inches of river, but with three lengths of unbroken river, on bridge, and two fords, you've got enough pieces to make any of the setups listed in the rulebook.  There was even enough wood left over to add a curve and short make-up length.

That short length is important for my setup because my mat is actually 30-inches wide by 34-inches wide.  So three lengths of 10-inches works great one way, but leaves a small gap when laid out the other way.  That short piece fills it in nicely.
May need to rethink that road piece left of the bridge.  That
bridge is a metal cast bought from Heroics and Ros.
Here's a better shot of one of the fords, with the pond in the back to show the matching water colors. It doesn't show up all that well in the photo, but after sealing these pieces with dullcote, a second coat of gloss finish was applied to the water itself to give it a nice wet shine.
Knights defending a ford.  Because using heavy mounted troops
to defend a static defense line is the mark of a good leader.
This is the classic war-game color for streams.  In nature they only look this blue when they reflect a clear blue sky.  On the wargaming table that color makes it clear what the feature represents, and provides a nice stark contrast against the ground surface.  It's only a cliche because it works.  For more in-depth reading, there's a great comparative analysis over on Wargaming With Barks.  Check it out.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Grinding Away at the One Hour Wargame Box

Should have a little something new to show you near the end of this long Labor Day weekend, but here's a couple shots found buried on my cell phone.  To give you a better idea how easy it is to work in 6mm, how about a couple of pre-paint shots of the farmstead?

These also give you an idea of the bare metal look of the Heroics and Ros small and large farmhouse.  The stone fence is just a thin sliver of basswood.  Kind of wish I'd put a small wooden gate in the opening to the field wall now that I look at it again.  In 6mm, those little details aren't hard and really help polish off otherwise basic features.