Thursday, July 24, 2014

Desert Skiff 3D Model

I have finished texturing the Desert Skiff 3D model in 28mm scale. It requires printing five pages although one is optional, with the "floating" base. Here is a low-resolution preview of the parts:

You can download PDF files from these links for Letter-sized or A4-sized pages.

Monday, July 21, 2014

First Impressions: FiveCore

Today I picked up the FiveCore rulebook and its Tactical Primer supplement, among other things during the Summer Campaign Sale at WargameVault.

FiveCore is the generic skirmish system that is also the basis for Five Men in Normandy. Both games are designed by Ivan Sorensen, creator of the free Fast and Dirty sci-fi rules. He also maintains a blog about his games, where he discusses their development and offers new optional rules.

The core book is 25 pages long, 16 of which containing the actual rules laid out in single column, large font text, so it is a quick read. Besides those, there are general guidelines for solo play (always welcome), optional rules for adding skills (i.e. special abilities) to soldiers and some general scenario ideas. The writing is clear and direct, although I guess a newcomer to miniature games would feel a bit lost due to the lack of examples and more thorough explanations.

The 11-page Tactical Primer supplement adds an army generator, campaign generator, and optional rules for stealth, explosives, snipers, and civilians.

I still need to play some battles with these rules but so far I like what I see. The "action roll" system reminds me of a similar rule in the Sacre Bleu! game, creating some unpredictable situations. There is a clever system for shooting that incorporates damage and suppression in a roll. The rules for reaction fire are quite simple. On the other hand, there is no distinction between soldiers except for weapons and possibly their skill: no training or experience attribute, for instance.

My impression is that FiveCore will shine in scenario-based games, where each side has a specific objective that they try to accomplish. The lack of in-game details of characters might be a way to push players towards narrative interpretation. Since some weapons allow shooting across the table, having plenty of cover might be necessary. Anyway, these are my expectations, and I will write more about this game after I have played a few battles.

Friday, July 18, 2014

There and back (to 15mm) again

Today I got to take a look at terrain and figures I had printed and built. There was a bunch of 28mm scale figures that I still use occasionally. Then there were some figures, tiles and buildings at 15mm scale and others at around 10mm, to play measuring 1 centimeter = 1 inch. Now, the problem is that those are incompatible (i.e. look bad along each other) and keeping both ends up being wasteful.

So taking a look at figures printed at both scales, it became obvious to me (considering my tastes, expectations and available printer, mind you) that the ones in 15mm scale looked better. So it is that I decided to abandon my plans of using the smaller minis, and to go back to 15mm scale, whether it is to play at that size or halving distances and ranges when playing rules meant for 28mm figures.

Following that, I spent a good portion of the day making more tiles and flat-folding buildings that I can use to play modern, sci-fi and zombie games. After that, I want to convert some Finger and Toe buildings to flat-folding versions that I can use in post-apocalyptic games.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jenkins' Story - Part 3

So here we go for another part of Jenkins' Story, where hopefully his luck will turn better.

May 2220: following a disastrous guard job, Jenkins was arrested and spent three months in jail. Now he has been released, although he is sure the New Hope City authorities will be keeping a closer eye at him. He plans to visit his former boss at the holo-vid store, to try to get his job back, and then lay low for a while.

[And then my plans are disturbed by a Confrontation involuntary encounter...]
Jenkins meets with Viper in the Midland Terrace neighborhood, and while they are passing through an alleyway, a tall muscular man stops in front of them. "You have been causing problems to the wrong people," he grunts.

Before Jenkins can react, the man lunges forward and hits him in the face, knocking him down. Still on the ground, he kicks the man on the left knee while Viper punches him in the stomach, making him drop to his knees.

Jenkins gets up and kicks the man on the head but he parries his leg to the side. Viper moves in, intent on hitting him with her knee, but the strong man trips her. She hits her head on the ground, going out of the fight.

The stranger gets up and lands another strong punch on Jenkins' face, knocking him out. [To be precise, he rolled an Obviously Dead result, and my Star Power roll only reduced it to Out of the Fight!]

Viper wakes up to find a police officer staring at her. There are no signs of Jenkins or their assaulter.

A few days later, Jenkins' body is found in an alley of the Spaceport district. Apparently he was further beaten up and shot.

This involuntary encounter took me by surprise. As the enemy did not draw guns, I figured that I could keep it as a simple fist fight. I did not want to have more trouble with the police right away, and I wanted to run the encounter with Jenkins and his former boss... the bad Star Power roll ruined it all. Then, another bad roll at the Confrontation Mercy table got him killed.

This is not the end of this campaign, however: Jenkins' untimely death seems a good opportunity to try the New Hope City PI supplement, so I will fudge things a bit and give Viper a friend who is a private investigator. She will want to find out who killed Jenkins... maybe not for justice but at least to know what kind of trouble he got into, and if it can spill on her.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My first 2014 print and play board game: Jasper and Zot

Today I built and played Jasper and Zot, a solo boardgame that won first place in the 2011 "one full-sheet label game design contest" on BoardgameGeek. It is an easy project, with a single sheet (in color or monochrome versions) that contains the board and markers and two pages of rules. Since you need to draw the markers from a cup, it is advisable to mount them in cardboard or some other thick material.

Gameplay involves turning zombies into flowers and then burning those flowers and any adjacent zombies for points. The challenge is in trying to set up long chains of flowers and zombies that will result in a good score, while protecting your pumpkins at the end of the garden. Each turn, you roll two dice to determine how many new zombies will appear, and in which position. The zombie markers are drawn from a cup.

It is a nice little game that has minimal setup time and plays fast. The board and markers are also great. As a result this is a nice game to spend some time. There are also digital versions for iPhone and Android devices, just look for "Jasper and Zot" in the related app stores.