Sunday, 25 September 2016

Guess who's back, back again? Doc V's back, tell a friend!

Well that didn't quite go according to plan now, did it?

Where oh where to begin?

2016 saw an almost catastrophic collapse of my gaming hobby due to a variety of factors.  My primary gaming oppo and hermano de otra madre Jonesy has had a lot less free time due to family commitments (which I can't fault in the slightest) resulting in the end of the old Sunday game crafting day and more planned game nights being cancelled than played.  He's also sadly turned into a crotchety old git on the subject of game rules (or rather even more of a crotchety old git than he normally is) and is unwilling to tolerate rule sets that don't meet his ideals.  At the end of an unpleasant game of Bolt Action Modern a couple of months back he announced that the very worst of the rules' many sins was that it used different ranges for different weapons.  Unfortunately that criteria rules out about 75% of the wargames rules I play or own, including my beloved G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.

I think I mentioned that I was starting a new job in January and that not only cut down on the free time for hobby matters but also brought to light an ongoing medical problem I'd been bumbling along with.  After being told I was falling asleep at work, I was diagnosed with Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  Go Google it!  But if you don't have time, basically while asleep I stop breathing about 87 times a minute meaning I'd not had a refreshing night's sleep since 2012.  This results in a massive lack of energy and motivation, daytime sleepiness and can contribute to depression and other fun symptoms.  This meant that a lot of potential hobby time on evenings and weekends was lost either due to not having the energy to do anything or just simply falling asleep after meals and waking, five hours later, still feeling exhausted.  Skipping ahead in the narrative, I've just started treatment for this, which promises to cure the symptoms and restore energy levels to normal, which is actually one of the reasons I'm posting this today.

Anyway the overall result of this is that gaming activity dwindled to almost zero during the first half of 2016.  On the rare occasion I could whip up the enthusiasm I kept doing little bits of work on terrain and figures for the San Paradiso project, but much less than last year. And that's why I stopped posting updates to this blog.. Honestly I had nothing to talk about. (I also stopped most of my PC gaming activities, including my YouTube channel, which is similarly on hiatus)

So over the last couple of months I've tried a couple of strategies to get some wargames happening.  Over the last year a small group of friends had started coming by on a Monday night, ostensibly to play Imperial Assault but in practice between cancellations and people turning up but not feeling like playing anything most nights turned into "YouTube and chill" sessions.  So a couple of months back I cleared off the Big Table and basically bullied them into doing some actual miniature wargaming.  We had a couple of really enjoyable games of Bolt Action Modern (this was prior to the revelation detailed above), after which it was decided we'd do a couple of sessions of RPGs, alternating between the two game types for variety.  (Incidently that was 2 months ago and we're still waiting for the second RPG session to happen.  See above re: cancellations, not feeling like playing etc)

Culo Raton MI-2s carrying airborne commandos attempt to flank the
airfield's defensive positions.  Moments later one helo touched down but
the other was hit by San Paradiso gunfire and crashed.. right on top of
the landed helo!
 In spite of this, in my own mind at least, the San Paradiso "campaign" continued to develop, with the this year's Big Birthday Bash (actually a modest 4 player affair) being the attempt by a joint rebel/Culo Raton force to capture the airfield Los Anilcamino.  Had they succeeded, I'd decided that would have ended the current phase of the campaign including the Culo Raton intervention, with a UN mediated cease-fire granting unspecified concessions to Culo Raton and the rebel farmers getting financial aid packages and limited autonomy in the region.

Unfortunately it was not to be, as the dug-in San Paradisan defenders managed to blunt the insurgents' assault and after some fierce close-quarter fighting around the terminal building still held the ground.

In terms of campaign continuity (remember DrV's Slightly Derivative Universal Mapless Campaign Rules?" The rebel farmers/Culo Raton had won the previous two battles and taken the initiative making this game a Raid and giving them a greater chance of capturing this particular resource if they won the battle.  Since San Paradiso won, they get to attempt to shift a resource as normal.  I decided they were going to use this airfield to launch a series of interdiction strikes to try to cut off support from Culo Raton, or in rules terms make their "Secure supply of food and materiel" Resouce Uncontrolled.  Unfortunately I rolled a 1 for them (needing 3+) meaning the resources remain unchanged as follows.

Farmers - Control of the Foothills of Monto Blanko. The Bridge at El Humber. The Goodwill Of The People, Secure supply of food and materiel.
Army - Secure base of operations at Verdaville. The Airfield at Los Anillcamino. The Sunrise Corp Processing Plant
Uncontrolled - Foreign media interest. The fertile Piso River valley. Support from the Church.

It doesn't end there...

In my quixotic quest to model all aspects of modern warfare and include it in the San Paradiso campaign results, I've been looking for an ultra-simple, Beer & Pretzels level air-combat game to be played as a possible adjunct to land wargames.  It was in this search that I came across "Bommaz over da Sulphur River", an old Games Workshop game in their Warhammer 40K setting, which portrayed an airstrike by Orkish "fighta-bommaz" against an Imperial position.  It used to be available as a free download on GW's Specialist Games website (alas no more) and I'd read somewhere about someone re-skinning the game to a Cold War setting, with Harriers attacking vs Mig-21 defenders.  So last Monday when the planned RPG session didn't happen (again!), I decided to whip this out and try re-skinning it on the fly to the San Paradiso setting.

The Orks became Culo Ratonese Shenyang F-6s and the defending Imperial Interceptors became San Paradisan F5e Tigers.  The gameboard represented a pass through the Monto Blonko mountain ranges with Flak and Rock Spire hazards remaining unchanged and the Laser Cannon morphed into a SAM battery.  The two other players present, CrazyEddy and Amy took the attackers and I ran the defences.

"Bommaz" is a ridiculously simple ruleset verging on a single page, with movement from space to space on the board and combats generally being opposed D6 rolls.  But there's enough subtlety built in to make it worth further investigation and although we were actually getting a couple of fundamental rules wrong for much of the game, and everyone enjoyed it.  In the end a lone bomma... ahem sorry a lone F6 from the first attack wave managed to take out both targets successfully, for a Culo Raton major victory.  I'm going to develop this game a little further, with rules for different aircraft from the San Paradisan theatre of war and maybe some different but still simple combat mechanics.

So what does that do to the campaign.  Yes, I'm going to include the results of a semi-improvised pickup beer & pretzels game into the campaign narrative.  Sue me already!.

Well the Culo Raton Ariale Patrole's sorties up the Monto Blanko valley against San Paradisan positions were designed to undermine the "Secure base of operations at Verdaville".  But the dice gods laughed as I rolled yet another 1 (again needing a 3+) so the campaign situation remains unchanged..

That's it for this update.  I'm going to try to get back to regular posting here, with both the ongoing efforts to administer CPR to my wargaming hobby and catch-ups on the little bits and pieces I've been managing over the past 9 months.

Tell a friend!


  1. Glad to see you back Doc.

    Bommerz with harriers was my baby and it's actually not a bad game for what it is. Fast and loose with plenty of explosions. It's not the most tactical of games, but it is certainly eventful and so short that it hardly matters.

    1. Ah the indubitable Mr Kinch. I knew I was standing on the shoulders of a giant, so to speak. I just couldn't remember where I'd seen the idea. Yes Bommaz is definitely fast, furious fun rather than an accurate model of air-to-ground combat, but that's exactly what I'm after.
      May I ask, did you make any significant changes to the rules to reflect the real-world setting? I'm thinking of changing the SAM evasion roll to be Speed + 1d6, vs a 2D6 SAM attack.

  2. Glad to see you posting again, Dr V! And glad to hear you're getting your health sorted out!
    Also, thanks for the GASLIGHT shout-out! :)

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