Monday, 15 April 2013

This place, is coming like a ghost town.

I hate you, Sarissa Precision... I hate you with the fire of a thousand burning suns.

Why?  Because just when I decide it's time to be extra careful with my money, you unveil THIS!!!

This is Sarissa's new "Gaslamp Alley" range of buildings, designed specifically for Victoriana / Steampunk games.  Like their other ranges, it's modular so you can vary the number of floors, mix different window styles etc.  It will also include an industrial pump house and a selection of gantries and walkways (like their sci-fi range)

For more eye-candy, look here and scroll down past the new Japanese range.  Sarissa say they'll have the first samples at Salute this weekend, but I expect they'll sell out fast.

Needless to say... I do want. :-)

Sarissa Precision's existing buildings were used extensively in the demos and photos for Empire Of The Dead, Westwind's steampunk horror game.  While I resisted the temptation when the rules first came out, I was snared by their recent Kickstarter campaign for a supplement called "Requiem",  I pledged at a level that got me a PDF copy of the rulebook, one of the boxed miniature sets, a selection of 18 figures from the new ranges plus all the stretch goal figures (of which there were about a dozen)

Reading through the rules PDF last night, it seems to be your standard warband skirmish game in the vein of Mordheim, (in fact the basic mechanics reminded me a great deal of the old GW Warhammer mechanics, streamlined and adapted from D6s to D10s) or Song Of Blades & Heroes.  Like most glossy games these days the rules are tied tightly to the game world and figure range.  In EOTD you can choose from just four different faction types - Holy Order, Gentleman's Club, Vampires or Werewolves, and specific figures from Westwind are given statblocks and points costs, but there's no obvious formula for calculating points values. This makes it harder to step outside the box and use the rules in a non EOTD setting.  Not impossible, just harder.

The Kickstarter edition of the PDF includes statblocks and points costs for the new sets of figures, including the new Police faction, but you're still limited to using the figures Westwind list, or reskinned proxies.  Personally I much prefer games to offer a broader framework, allowing players to indulge their creativity to the fullest.  GASLIGHT is a perfect example of this, though many criticise it for being too open-ended.  I'll certainly be giving EOTD a go at some point, and if it plays as well as it looks, we might have a go at reverse engineering the points system.

Back on the subject of laser-cut MDF buildings, with the Man Cave now once again fully operational, I was rooting through some Piles Of Stuff (TM) looking for something to work on when I found a box of unassembled Warbases buildings that I'd bought early last year.  Four packs of terraced houses, two tenement blocks and perhaps most importantly, cut-out window inserts for the latter + a spare set for the currently half-finished tenement that's been sat on the shelf for the last two years.  As I recall these weren't too difficult to assemble, and will make a good project to get back into the swing of things.

Who knows, maybe they'll be enough to satisfy the craving for laser-cut MDF, so that I won't need to embezzle the grocery shopping budget to buy the Gaslamp Alley buildings.

No, I don't think it will either.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Drip drip drop, little April showers...

Good grief!  Where did that month go?

I'm pleased to report that I have FINALLY gotten the 6x5 table setup in the back room, and this last Sunday actually managed to play an ACTUAL WARGAME.  You know, with dice.  And toy soldiers.  And little model trees and houses on a green cloth.

Mi Hermano Semanal Jonesy came around and after some faffing around considering trying a new set of rules, we eventually settled on a simple game of Flying Lead using my VSF/Steampunk figures.  Jonesy took a selection from the Pulp Heroes list, while I mixed up the Criminals and Mafia lists for my Evil League Of Evil.

I can't give you a blow by blow account of the battle, but I can tell you that a Mafia Hitman at 150 points out of a force of 400 is well worth it.  My "Miss Moran" (one of the GASLIGHT Victoria Hawkes models with a tricked out rifle) started by killing the do-gooders' leader with a max range sniping shot, causing his faithful oriental sidekick to flee the battlefield.  After a couple of rounds where she struggled to get a clear shot, she found her mark twice more, prompting the demoralised do-gooders to rout.  She scored all of my kills, as the rest of my force were all armed with pistols and outranged by the opposition who had a couple of rifles.

The other games we were looking at playing were Blasters and Bulkheads and Chaos on Chronos, both similar warband-type skirmish games.  But while there might be nothing wrong with them for playing in their own specific settings, for a generic pick-up game with different figures, Flying Lead was far easier to get up and running with.  The army lists cover WWII, Modern military, Criminal, Pulp and a couple of near-SF options, enough variety to make it easy to pick something suitable for any sort of firearms skirmish.  I had to fudge a couple of things in the lists, like replacing machine pistols with heavy calibre pistols, but was otherwise able to play straight from the book.  If I was planning this game in advance, I could use the Squad Builder from the Ganesha Games web page to work out exact points values, the same for any Vehicles or even custom built Weapons I might need.

On contemplation, while there's nothing particularly wrong with the GoalSystem rules as used in Blasters & Bulkheads, Chaos in X etc, I think I still vastly prefer the Ganesha Games system based on Song of Blades & Heroes and used in Flying Lead.  As long as you're willing to accept that the activation mechanic means you can't guarantee every figure/unit will act every turn, it feels like a much more interesting/uncertain game.

Anyway, now I have the table setup (semi-)permanently, I'm hoping to get a lot more gaming done in the coming months.


What do you mean, "you've heard that one before"?