Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 in review and plans for the future

The year is almost over and for me, it was at least as crazy as the year before. Sitting back during the holidays, I can now take a look at how was the year for this blog.

Looking back at the end of year posts from 2012 and 2013, it is interesting to see that I got a little closer to the goal of having at least one new post per week, with a spike of activity around the middle of the year. While better than 2013, it is still around half of the posts during the first year of the blog. Nowadays I think one post per week is a more realistic goal, so I am sticking with it for the next year. Here are the other goals I am setting for Fantalonia 2015:

Moving to virtual tabletops
After many years of service, my inkjet printer has stopped working. I still have access to a monochrome laser printer, and I have seen great examples of black and white paper miniatures. However, I cannot find cheap toner for that printer, so my papercraft experiments will be limited.

At the same time, virtual tabletop (VTT) software like Tabletop Simulator, and good old MapTool keep getting better. So I have decided to try to make them my main platform for solo gaming in 2015 -- that includes dedicating time to make tokens and terrain for them.

Thorough, solo play-focused reviews
One expected effect of moving to VTTs is that I will be able to play more often. Therefore, I intend to make more thorough reviews of games from a solo player perspective, rather than the "first impressions" posts I have been writing. These will still take time so there will probably be only a few along the year.

More solo RPG sessions
After a few attempts at solo RPG gaming with Mythic or the 9 Questions, my posts moved back to miniature games almost exclusively. However, I had a great time with the Jenkins' Story campaign -- which ended up being closer to an RPG in play.

I also have lots of RPG systems that I am pretty sure I will not play with a group: as time passes (and we grow older), it is ever harder to find people with patience to try new game systems. Therefore, I will try to have more solo RPG sessions (with different systems) in 2015.

That's all for now, I hope everyone is having a good holiday season and wish a great 2015!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review: 5150 Urban Renewal

Now that I have played a number of games with 5150 Urban Renewal (and New Hope City PI), I feel confident enough to write a review about it.

For those who do not know this game, a little explanation is necessary. 5150 Urban Renewal is the new edition of 5150 New Beginnings. This is a sci-fi miniatures game with noticeable RPG elements. By that I mean that there are provisions to help the players creating an overall story. While the rules can be used for one-off battles between small groups of figures, in my opinion most of its value comes from narrative play. For those who have already played 5150 New Beginnings, I suppose that the big question is: what has changed?

The biggest changes have been in the campaign system. In my opinion, the original New Beginnings was like a big toolbox for playing sci-fi narrative-oriented games, and it included a campaign system to help players getting started. On the other hand, Urban Renewal feels like a very detailed campaign system, which you may also tear apart to use only parts of it. So there is a change of focus, and a lot more cohesion between parts in this new edition. The goal of the campaign has also shifted from items to character improvement, and so the items system has been further simplified.

As the campaign system changed, so did characters. Previously, characters had a class, profession and motivation. The latter has been dropped, and a new system of social Circles has been added. The Science skill has also been removed, and now the People skill is quite possibly the most useful.

The rules for vehicles have been replaced with a comprehensive Public Transport system, that may also be used to simulate travel with a car. This also means that the rules for using a vehicle in an encounter are gone. The rules for buildings have also reverted to essentially the same found in Chain Reaction 3.1, instead of the more complex, floorplan-based ones found in the previous edition of New Beginnings. The chapter about media crews has also been removed. On the other hand, there are three new types of encounter: Confrontation, Gaming House and Deal, adding more options to the campaign.

In terms of writing and presentation, Urban Renewal is more organized and clear than the original New Beginnings. When that book was released in 2012, it showcased many of the newer rules for Two Hour Wargames products. Things like the new In Sight system, item system and building rules were presented but, at times, there was little "glue" between them. I think that this gave it the "toolbox" feel. In this new edition the parts seem to fit each other better.

In my opinion, 5150 Urban Renewal offers an interesting experience for solo players. It is possible to use the campaign system as is, in order to create various stories in the New Hope City setting. With some extra work, the campaign system may also be adjusted to fit other sci-fi settings. The streamlining and organization of the rules make it easier to learn and use, but it still has lots of information. Therefore, both new players and those upgrading from the first edition are advised to read the book carefully and make the "Stop!" box exercises.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dwarven Scouts

Today I played my first game of Warrior Heroes - Warbands. This is the Two Hour Wargames title that bridges the gap between Warrior Heroes and Rally Round the King. You control one or more units (of about 10 soldiers each) in the fantasy land of Talomir, and the book includes different ways of playing. There is a campaign system where you start as the leader of a single unit and try to rise in the ranks to become a warlord or king. Two other campaigns have you as a warlord, holding your territory between the borders of other nations, or defending from an invasion of evil forces. There are also rules for sieges (which are a part of the basic campaign.)

For my first game, I chose the simple "Scout" scenario, in which your leader must go through all sectors of the table to map out a region of enemy territory. I decided to play a dwarven unit, and rolled a group of nine dwarves with crossbows, plus my leader. The enemy would be orcs. I set up a board in MapTool, sketched some impassable mountains and wooded areas and spread the Possible Enemy Forces (PEFs) around. Narrative bits in italics, [game-related comments in brackets.]

Debrok was one of the four sons of a dwarven master smith, and that gave him some benefits that other young dwarves didn't have. Like leading his own unit of hunters, despite his lacking martial skills. However, Debrok was still stubborn and proud as any dwarf, and thus eager to prove himself. As rumors of orc raiding parties in the southeast border started to arise, he ordered his men to prepare for a scouting mission.

The group arrived at the Gordar mountain pass and started looking for signs of orc incursion. This would be an obvious route to reach some of the more distant (and less guarded) dwarven villages. As they approached the woods that grew across the pass, a group of orc archers tried to ambush them. Disorganized and using rough short bows, they were met with a shower of bolts from the dwarves, and quickly scattered.
[As my unit maneuvered around the wooded area, the first PEF was resolved as a single unit of seven orc archers. The orcs' smaller numbers and the dwarves' better armor (and some lucky rolls, too) resulted in a victory for the small guys, with the orcs routing in a couple of turns.]

Monday, October 27, 2014

Jenkins' Story - Epilogue

Viper was tired. She had spent the last week or so looking for clues to Jenkins' murder, but it felt like walking in circles. Some piece of the puzzle was missing, or someone wasn't talking the truth. She'd spend the next days getting in touch with her gang but today all she wanted was some sleep.

[After the failed investigation, I decided to play an adaptation of the Confrontation scenario with Viper being attacked in her apartment by the guy that killed Jenkins.]

As she filled a glass of water, Viper heard some scraping metal sounds. She put the glass down, prepared her pistol and looked at the door: someone was indeed fiddling with the locks.

[Right before the killer entered the apartment, I made a Rep unopposed challenge. If she succeeded, she would be suspicious and grab her weapon. Otherwise, she would be unarmed for the In Sight test.]

Viper took cover behind a table as the door opened. The same man who fought her and Jenkins appeared and fired a pistol. The shots buzzed past her head. She fired back and the man dropped to the floor. However, she was not sure if he was hit, and how badly.

[Both characters took the In Sight test. The killer fired first and scored an Obviously Dead result, luckily avoided by Viper's star power. She then fired, knocking the killer down.]

Not willing to take chances, Viper vaulted over the table and fired again, hitting the man in the chest. He groaned and dropped his pistol, lying with open arms on the floor.

[Viper won the initiative and fired again, scoring an Out of Fight result. That was enough to finish this fight.]

Viper could hear police sirens in the distance. Quickly, she searched the man's pockets. He did not have any ID card, but she recognized a name in his com-link call logs: Jean Sellers -- the waitress she questioned at the City Hall district.

[I decided to use the "Who Did It?" rules from New Hope City PI to find a connection between the murder and one of the persons of interest that showed up during the case.]

This was all very confusing to Viper. Jean didn't seem to have reasons (or resources) to hire a killer to take care of Jenkins. Anyway, those questions would have to wait. She left her apartment and slipped into the dark streets of Lower Polariston, before the police arrived.

This is the end of the Jenkins' Story campaign. The "Who Did It?" rules gave me another hook for a new adventure but, for now, I intend to let Viper rest. Maybe later I will start "Stories of Hope: Viper" or something like that.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jenkins' Story - Finale?

This is the conclusion of Viper's investigation on Jenkin's death.

Day 7:
Viper questioned a computer technician about Jenkins. He admitted buying some holovids but gave no useful information. She came back to Jenkins' former boss but had no success either.

Day 8:
Viper continued to follow some clues but found nothing. Whoever killed Jenkins had covered their tracks or left the city by now. She couldn't help feeling that something was not right; nothing she uncovered even explained why Jenkins was killed. "You have been causing problems to the wrong people..." she remembered the strong guy who knocked her out and possibly killed him.

I was not able to gather the eight clues that were needed to solve the case. Still, it was interesting (and challenging) to build the story around the investigation rolls. In this case I played it in a rather abstract way, using the tables to set up the NPCs and encounters. I could have set up a board and played a Chillin' encounter to meet each of them, instead. This investigation might have gone in different directions, as I met other characters (from the Possible Enemy Forces deployed on the table.)

One big hindrance to this investigation was the fact that Viper is a ganger, and thus belongs to the lowest social circle in New Hope City. This put her at a disadvantage every time she would question someone, because of the way Questioning rolls work. A detective would be in a better position for this task, as expected.

This is one of the types of investigation covered in New Hope City PI. It also includes ideas and tools to play vigilantes, who bring justice to criminals in their own terms, and something like the replicant hunters from Blade Runner.

Anyway, this is almost the end of the Jenkin's Story campaign... look for an epilogue soon.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Shadow of Mordor

The reason this blog has not been updated for a while is this:

For the past two weeks, most (if not all) my hobby time was poured into Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. When it was released, I dismissed it as another Assassin's Creed or Batman game, only using some of Tolkien's source material. Following some very positive comments by friends, I decided to try it and the game is really good.

Surely, there is free-flowing combat and exploration like the other mentioned games. However, the world behaves dynamically, changing based on (some of) your actions. One way this happens is through the "nemesis" system. If you get killed by an orc, he raises in power. Go after him for revenge and he mocks and taunts you for your previous defeat. On the other hand, some orcs you kill come back, with scars and new abilities based on how you dispatched them.

The orcs also practice their violence-based politics and you can interfere in those: jump into a duel between two orc captains, prevent them from recruiting more orcs and so on. Leave them alone and some will rise in power and defeat their rivals.

Anyway, I completed the main storyline during the weekend, and while I will probably explore the game a bit more, blog activity should also resume soon.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Jenkins' Story - Part 7

Here is the report of the next two days in Viper's investigation...

Day 5:
Having found out that Jenkins' list was related to some smuggling scheme, Viper decided to do some research on shipping records and news related to smuggling in the City Hall. However, she spent the whole morning going through files and public records and found nothing. [I rolled a 1 on the "advance the investigation" table, so I must find another object. I rolled the City Hall district for its location, so I came up with this interpretation... anyway, I failed the roll to find the object.]

Viper then decided to go back to Terry Gardner's office and ask him about smuggling deals with Jenkins. However, since her previous invasion and failed attempt at tailing him, the man had added her to the office security's "black list," so she was not even allowed to enter the building. [I rolled a 6 on the "advance the investigation" table: find a person. I rolled an engineer but since I had rolled that profession before, it would be the same person. However, because of my previously failed attempt at tailing him, he would refuse my re-questioning... so this was a failure.]

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Five Core: Get to the van!

Today I played a game using Five Core and the Heroes and Horrors supplement. Three survivors (one of them a Hero) must get to a van across the table, to escape a town infested with zombies. Here are the survivors, from left to right: Ben (no skills / armed with a rifle), Roland (hero / skills: infiltrator, overwatch / armed with a rifle), and James (no skills / armed with baseball bat.)

And this is the starting board: I placed the survivors near the left edge and spread five zombies across the board.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Jenkins' Story - Part 6

After a long break, here is the continuation of Viper's investigation.

Day 4:
Having no other leads, Viper decided to continue looking for people in the list of names she found previously. She located a Christine Steele, working at a small legal / accountancy office in the Financial district. [I rolled another person of interest: Accountant, female, Rep 3 / Fit 3 / Pep 2 / Sav 1, carrying a BA Pistol.]

Viper went to the office in the most sober clothes she had, and a thin briefcase. She told the receptionist she had been called for a meeting with some lawyer and was told to wait. When the receptionist was busy with a call, she slipped into the office area and found Christine's desk. She was talking with some tech support guy and did not seem happy. When she noticed Viper staring at her, she asked "huh? Who are you? And who let you in here?", at the same time looking around. The tech support guy just looked puzzled. This was Viper's cue to step closer and intimidate the accountant into answering her questions.

As it turns out, Christine had bought some smuggled goods from Jenkins, "but none of the really illegal stuff." She didn't even know what else Jenkins dealt in, but she had seen some bad-looking types at his place once. [This time, I got two more successes than the person of interest, allowing me to get some answers and solve a clue.]

[I decided to try to solve another clue and rolled a 1. Adding 3 due to the clues already solved, this resulted on a "find object" encounter. I thought it would be nice to try to recover some sample of what Jenkins smuggled, so I decided the encounter would happen during the evening, rolling a casino in the Pub & Rec district.]

Christine said she had met Jenkins on at the Centauri casino in the Pub & Rec district. Viper decided to check the place at night, to look for some information and maybe find out what else Jenkins was smuggling. The place was run-down, and security was kept by a couple of nasty Zhu-Zhus. She spent a couple hours looking for clues but didn't find anything. [Unfortunately, I failed the roll to find the object.]

To be continued...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Crafting a set of 15mm zombie survival miniatures

I am in the process of coloring an updated set of zombie survival 15mm miniatures, based on the ones I made for the Grey City campaign. I have added some police miniatures and adjusted the scale, so that they are around 16.5mm from head to foot.
If all goes well, I should release them later this week...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Jenkins' Story - Part 5

This post continues Viper's investigation on Jerry Jenkins' death as part of the "Jenkins' Story" campaign.

Day 2:
Viper woke up, checked the stashed clues hidden under a floorboard and left her place. She knew Tanya, an "entertainer" who used to hang around the Magic Seven, a gaming house at the spaceport. And Tanya knew lots of people, so she might recognize some names in the list stored in the data module that Viper retrieved.

[Using the investigation rules, I rolled a "Get info from a person of interest" mission: a farmer (female) - Rep 4 Fit 2 Pep 3 Sav 4 - in a Gaming House at the Spaceport district, during the day. I guess I could have set up a table and played this like a Chillin' encounter but instead I skipped straight to the gaming house.]

Viper arrived early in the afternoon, so there weren't many patrons around. She found Tanya and called her to talk in a corner. "Do you know any of these people?" Viper tone was demanding, and it seemed to bother Tanya. She looked the list up and down, then sighed. "No, I don't. What's this anyway?" Viper frowned, "I'm trying to help a friend, that's what," and left.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Blog updates and Papercut Awards

Just a quick update. A few weeks ago I started reorganizing this blog, as it is almost five years old. First I cleaned up the tags so that they would serve as subject categories for the posts, rather than keywords. I am not 100% happy with the way they are now, but I believe they work better than my previous cluttered word cloud. After that, I changed the order and configuration of some of the sections on the right side of the page, hopefully making navigation a bit easier.

Today I have added a new "Downloads" page to organize the downloads of paper figures and models that I have created along these years. These include posts made in this blog and those in the Cardboard Warriors forum. I still have to add a bunch of links. This will include some new figures in the 15mm survivors line, following some inquiries by Ivan Worthington.

Moving on to another subject, voting for the Papercut Awards 2014 has ended and so it is now possible to see the winners in each category. Participating in three categories (single figure, model and mixed media dioramas) was great, both as a challenge to different skill sets and as a contribution to the papercraft community.
Grabbing 4th place in the mixed media dioramas was a bit of a surprise for me, considering the high quality of all entries. Setting up those shots and trying to make good-looking pictures was very fun.

I had mixed feelings for a while, for landing the 3rd place in the models category. After all, we had only three entries, meaning I would grab the 3rd prize anyway. However, I got 16 votes from a total of 43 voters, meaning more than one third of them thought my model was worth 1st or 2nd place -- each voter could pick one or two models in this category. Besides, I cannot be blamed for the lack of additional entries, and mine was the first to be submitted.

It is also interesting to notice the importance of photography in the contest: three of the top five "Best in Show" were entries to the diorama categories (although one of them involved designs that were created specifically for the contest.)

This is what I had to say about this year's awards. Eric 'Squirmydad' Brown said he will compile all entries as downloads -- and there are some really awesome ones. I am particularly interested in building the townsfolk vs. undead battle set.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Five Core: Data Retrieval Mission

Today I started reading Five Parsecs from Home, and that made me want to play another game of Five Core. A small team of soldiers must retrieve a module from the ruins of a bombed forward base. The enemy has left a team to defend the area.

This time, I rolled skills for two soldiers on each team. I played team green, from left to right: Sgt. Sims (Inspiring), Cpl. Marks (Tough), Pvt. Mills and Pvt. Jones. The opposing team had soldiers with the Motivator and Covering Fire skills, and two grunts. All figures counted as equipped with rifles except for the leaders, who carried submachine guns.

Here is the setup. The circles mark bombed spots that count as rough ground. The objective is located at the question mark stand, near the top left area.

I placed each team on a road and moved all figures a full move before starting the game.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Star Army: Looking for Rebels

A couple of days ago, I played a Star Army game to try the "Nuts to Star Army" conversion rules available at the Two Hour Wargames forum. Essentially, it brings the option to play Star Army with the new In Sight test and simplified reaction tables. This was a simple patrol mission with no reinforcements or random events. I played a squad of planetary defense force, looking for rebels.

I had at most two squads to use as enemy, so I used a slightly modified PEF (Possible Enemy Force) resolution rule: I would roll two dice against the rebel investiment level of two. If both dice passed, I would find two squads and remove any remaining PEFs. If one die passed, I would find one squad (and if another squad was already on the table, I would remove any other PEFs.)

Here is the setup, with my squad at the bottom: The leader is the big guy with raised arm (Rep 5 Star), the assistant squad leader is the other big guy (Rep 3) and the grunts are Rep 4. The green patches with trees represent wooded areas, blocking line of sight inside and providing concealment at the edges. The other patches are brush that just provide concealment.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jenkins' Story - Part 4

Jerry Jenkins was kidnapped and killed. Police investigation concluded it was a robbery gone wrong, as so many that happen in the spaceport district.

Viper, Jenkins' associate, knows there is more to it. Not that her statement to the police made any difference. She wants to find out what really happened and be sure it won't bring her any more trouble. Based on the previous games, I "promoted" Viper to a Rep 5 star:

Viper (real name: Lucy Sharp) - Rep 5 star ganger
Fitness 5 / People 4 / Savvy 3
Cruel, Sure handed
Home: Lower Polariston

She has done some jobs for a private investigator... mostly following people, stealing useful evidence, asking some questions. So she will be running this on her own. Her case notebook starts like this:

"Jerry Jenkins, former clerk at a holovid rental shop, has been murdered. Someone, seemingly a hired thug, ambushed him and Viper in an alley at the Midland Terrace district, knocking out both. Days later, Jenkins' body showed up in the spaceport district. This was two days ago. The body was found in the morning, the crime might have happened during the night."
[Case difficulty: level 4, requiring 8 clues to solve. It is not a time-pressed investigation, so Viper will have 8 days counting from the first clue found to solve it.]

Day 1:
Viper took a regular shuttle to the spaceport. It was almost lunch time so there weren't many people aboard. She hoped that the police had done a sloppy job and there was still some clue to be found in the alley where Jenkins' body was found.
[I rolled for the first clue, getting a "find an item" mission. Since it was the first item, the location is the crime scene -- the alley at the spaceport. I decided to go during daytime.]

Looking for meaningful clues in a dirty alley proved harder and more frustrating than Viper expected. As she walked away, however, she spotted a security camera of the Green shop across the street. It took some cajoling and a generous tip but she left with a copy of the footage. It showed someone in a dark blue trenchcoat, right arm around the waist of another person seeming very drunk (or hurt...) entering the alley and leaving alone a few minutes later. Viper wondered if the police had seen that video.
[I got a success on the Find an Object table, meaning it was found -- and thus the clock started ticking: eight days from now to complete the investigation...]

Finding that video footage gave Viper an idea. In the evening, she went to another Green shop in the Pub & Rec area, where Jenkins was a regular. There was no use asking the clerks about him or suspicious people. However, she remembered that Jenkins once mentioned hiding a data module in a bathroom stall. Many places in New Hope City had universal bathrooms as an easy solution to conform to different, possibly multi-gendered alien species, androids and so on. Green, however, catered to Basic culture and maintained separate restrooms for ladies and gentlemen. With a combination of stealth, patience and nerve, she checked the stalls of the men's room and actually found a data module. Later that night, she discovered it contained lists of names and codes, but they meant nothing to her.
[This was another close call, where I almost failed at finding the object. The location was randomized by the rules, and I just tried to fit it in the context.]

To be continued...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A zombie horde approaches!

Yesterday I built 60 zombies from various Darkmook survival horror sets. Some may be annoyed by the repeated poses but I think they still do their job well...

Now I have to set up some zombie survival games with these...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Soldiers vs. Insurgents using Five Core

To finish the weekend, last night I played a game of Five Core using the basic rules, plus the Stealth option from the Tactical Primer supplement. In this mission, a group of four soldiers must neutralize a group of six insurgents. Four of them are inside a large house and two are outside, patrolling. Fireteam A is on the top portion of the map, fireteam B is near the bottom.

The soldiers advance cautiously to the insurgents' base. This is the defining moment, when they are ready to open the doors shooting. One of the patrollers is far away (maybe relieving himself?) while the other failed his roll to detect the soldiers.

Fireteam A moved inside through the door at the top. However, an insurgent opened fire making the soldier duck back. Fireteam B entered through the front door and shot down one insurgent. As the firefight continued, both patrollers moved closer to the action and were taken down. One soldier from fireteam A was knocked down and one from fireteam B was taken out of action. Due to these losses, the soldiers started retreating under fire.

Fireteam A retreated through the house, while fireteam B used a narrow street. The remaining insurgents came in pursuit. When the soldiers were about to leave the board, the insurgents managed to hit them, knocking both down. Game over...

Two soldiers were out of action, the other two were knocked down. Rolling on the recovery table, neither out-of-action soldier was badly injured, so I assume they would be taken as prisoners.

I did not take note of the total playing time for the game, but it did flow well, thanks to the few dice rolls and tables. Three nice bits from the rules that I would like to highlight are: the simple reaction fire mechanics, the ability to peek around cover and the action roll, which makes turn sequence a little unpredictable.

In this specific scenario, I thought I should add some extra figures to the "enemy" to compensate for my overall knowledge while playing solo. This was not the case, however, as I played with the basic rules where all figures are essentially equal. The battle might have worked differently if I had added skills for the soldiers, or allowed them to ignore a few shock dice to simulate better training.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My new batch of 15mm post-apocalyptic minis

I have finished my "new generation" of 15mm paper minis (actually, some of them are a bit taller than that...) They took a while to make but I find the results really good:

They were printed at a photo print shop, thus the very bright colors and great details. To paint over white bits on the photo paper, I used a Sakura Identi-Pen. I have tried other similar pens but this is the one I have found to stick really well to that paper.

The bases were cut with a craft paper punch, 11/16" or roughly 17mm. I cut one circle of a texture sheet -- printed at home, as the glue I use does not take well on photo paper -- and one circle of a thin EVA sheet (also known as "foamies") then glued them together.

Also thanks to Sean for making some interesting posts about miniature photography. There is not so much I can do with a point and shoot camera and improvised lighting, but I think these pictures are already better than previous ones taken with the camera flash (or without flash and some fudging in Gimp.)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Looking for medicine in a zombie-infested town

Recently I bought the I, Zombie supplement for All Things Zombie (ATZ) and this made me want to play more zombie survival adventures.

I never gave much attention to tri-fold or trigonal paper minis. This changed after I saw a very nice All Things Zombie battle report. I found interesting that the tri-folds were very visible and distinguishable on the table. So instead of printing another batch of the zombies and survivors I created for my Grey City campaign, I decided to try the tri-fold ones from the War of the Dead: the Paper Dead set from Daring Entertainment.

In this scenario, Barry [rep 5 star survivor with SMG] and Moe [rep 4 grunt survivor with rifle] must reach the building at the other end of the board, search for some medicine [pass a challenge test] and leave through the edge they entered. Here is a picture of the board at the beginning, already with the initial zombie placement [I rolled 7 zombies, placed per the rules.]

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My current terrain inventory

After deciding to stick with 15mm scale terrain, I spent some time in the last few days organizing what I had and building some additional pieces.

Here is the terrain I currently have. Most of it fits in a storage box (38cm x 24cm x 18cm) and some older, simpler buildings and tiles are stored in a plastic folder.

So, what exactly is in the box? Plenty of stuff, useful for modern, post-apocalyptic and sci-fi gaming.

First, there are 10 flat-folding buildings based on WorldWorks Games swift scenics line, more specifically the office and abandoned buildings.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Desert Skiff built at 15mm scale

Here are some pictures of the desert skiff printed at 50% scale, to play with 15mm miniatures:

The miniatures are from Slick's Minis and Spacejacker. Expect a battle report soon using this model...

This reduced model was printed on regular 90g/cm2 paper. There were no major problems making the cuts and folds at 50% scale but I really recommend trimming the tabs marked with an "X" before folding and gluing the double-sided parts. This avoid double-thickness tabs that will be harder to fold properly.

Normally I would apply a black pen to the edges of the pieces but in this case, as I cut them I felt that leaving the white edges contributed to the rough/worn look that I wanted.

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.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Building some print and play games

It is print and play time again! I intend to use some time during my vacation to build paper models and games. For now I have started with three easily buildable projects, all of them solo boardgames:

Jasper and Zot, a nice and portable solo board game that won a BoardGameGeek contest in 2011 for print and play games that fit in a single sheet.

Dice of the Living Dead, a solo zombie survival game that can be played with just the single-page board and eight dice.

Island of D 2: The Shadow of Dawn, a clever solo adventure that uses only cards, not dice for all the random elements and conflict resolution.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Yay! My books arrived in time for my vacation

My order from Alternative Armies has arrived today: Alien Squad Leader and Firefight 2.0. The postage date was 22/04/2014, so about 2.5 months to cross the atlantic from Scotland to Brazil. On the other hand, I cannot complain about the shipping cost. The great thing, however, is that the package has arrived just in time for my vacation.

So why these two games? To be honest, I was curious about them and since they do not have digital versions, I finally decided to order the hard copies. In the case of Firefight, what attracted me was the grid-based gameplay. I expect to be able to play this with friends who are mostly used to board games. If that does not work, I might be able to adapt the scenarios for solo play...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Work in Progress: Desert Skiff model

I am currently working on a "desert skiff" paper model in 28mm scale, for the Cardboard Warriors monthly figure hoard. It is inspired by similarly-named vehicles found in Star Wars and in the game Borderlands 2. Here are some pictures of a quick and dirty build of the template, just to check if everything is fitting together.

That flag pole did not look good in the model so it will not be an option in the final model. For a few more pictures, check this thread on the forum...

Edit: here is the template for the model, in Inkscape format.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

First Impressions: Tabletop Simulator

After some consideration, I decided to get Tabletop Simulator during the Steam summer sale -- even though I find it a little unnerving that they put so much emphasis on the "feature" that you may flip the table tossing board and pieces around.

Tabletop Simulator is still a work in progress, being sold under the "early access" program. There are already several game modes for things like chess and poker, but honestly I think there is more usable software for those games. Users have been creating custom content (or adapting Vassal modules) for several boardgames, and there is the option of using it as a "sandbox": just a plain table where you can place a board and pieces as you wish, and move them around.

My expectation is to be able to set up and play wargaming scenarios in full 3D. In the best case, playing it with an Oculus Rift or similar device, it might get close to a real tabletop experience... the reality, however, is still a bit far from this. Only recently, a (very rough) measuring tool has been added to it, and there is no convenient way to measure movement distances or even mark movement paths. There is no support for moving formations of figures, and as far as I know the custom table has a fixed size -- so there is no way to set up some great 6'x8' tables for instance.

It is possible to import custom models or even make figurines that look like paper stand-ups, but the mechanisms are clunky and limited. For instance, the stand-ups have 1.5" round bases. If you want other sizes, you have to scale them down manually, a process that involves trial and error and is tiresome. Also, for some bizarre reason it seems that the game cannot import model files from local storage. You have to upload the models and images and then write their links in the program. [EDIT: you can use local URIs, i.e. file:///c|/somefile... but that will limit your ability to share savegames and mods with others.] I also would expect the game to come with an assortment of tokens, chits and markers but that is not the case.

As the program is still under development, I have hope that the missing features will be added with time. For now I might try to set up a spaceship combat game or something else with small number of models, grid-based movement and limited board size...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Brink of Battle: more Romans and Celts

Here are two more reports of Celts vs. Romans skirmish battles using Brink of Battle. This time I have played against an "automated" force. The enemy always has the Break but I still make the Strategy check to determine which side gets the bonus action tokens and initiative. Each turn, I must first allocate all my action tokens. Allocation of enemy action tokens follows these criteria, in order:

1) figures that are in danger of being eliminated. This includes broken figures, as they might leave the battlefield if they do not recover.
2) figures that might complete an objective.
3) figures closest to the enemy.

I am using Jay's suggestion for an automatic use of the Break by the "enemy":
"I don't know the rules, but as for the "break" action. Could you possibly have a number which you increment by 1 at each opportunity for a break. You could then roll a die, add this break number and if it hits or exceeds an amount you set for the scenario then a break occurs. This way there is some tension as to when the break occurs, and more and more likely as the turn goes on. You could also tweak that break limit, and possibly increment the number more when performing actions which are particularly harmful to the enemy so a break is more likely to occur."

Since Brink of Battle uses ten-sided dice, I am starting the "break counter" at 5 each round. Each time the break could be used, I roll a d10 and if it is equal to or lower than the "break counter," the break occurs. Otherwise, the "break counter" is increased by one.

The roman forces are the same as those in the previous battle report. The celt forces have had a small adjustment, by swapping one spearman with one archer and changing the archers' attribute from Gung Ho! to Marksman level 1. The detailed roster is presented at the end of this post.

First battle
In the first battle, I controlled the celts. The river in the map is fordable but counts as difficult terrain that does not provide concealment or cover.

The forces approach each other. My archers take position by the river banks. At the third turn, the romans enter the river and the archers fire at them, but do not cause any damage.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

City Patrol AAR

Following the release of Chain Reaction 3.1, I played a small game using the good old Patrol scenario... as usual, the text between brackets is additional commentary about the game and the rules, and may be safely ignored by those interested only in the narrative.

In this case, a city is being contested between the national military and a rebel paramilitary force. The military have established a foothold in a commercial neighborhood but they are concerned that the rebels might want to take it back, so they must keep patrols around the area.

For this game, a recon team has been assigned one of these patrols. They are sergeant Higgins (in the center), pvt. Jones (on the left) and pvt. Krantz. [Higgins is a Rep 5 star, armed with a shotgun. The others are Rep 4 grunts with submachine guns.] I played the game with 15mm miniatures halving all distances.

The team entered the board through the southeast section. Everything was silent, as the shops and offices were closed down due to the conflict. The streets were filled with debris and even some abandoned cars. [It is not possible to see the PEFs because they are behind buildings. The humvee provides cover, the overturned taxi provides cover and blocks line of sight.]

The soldiers advanced towards the closest building, wary of nearby sounds. At first they were relieved that the sound came from an empty soda can, pushed by the wind. However, moments later Krantz spotted an enemy soldier before he could hide behind a distant building. [The first PEF moved closer and resolved as nothing but nerves. The second PEF resolved as a single Rep 5 enemy soldier far away. I assumed that he used his allowed 2" movement before the In Sight test to hide back, as he was outnumbered.]

Worried about a possible ambush, the team rushed to take cover behind the abandoned humvee. Higgins ordered Krantz to keep watch, while he and Jones were to move forward, towards the turned taxi. [The team made a successful fast move to reach the humvee. Notice that the last PEF is behind the cab.]

Higgins and Jones moved around the cab and met another enemy soldier! [The last PEF resolved as another Rep 5 soldier. I rolled the new In Sight test and the soldier won. Since I was not sure if he would concentrate fire on one figure or fire at both, I randomly allocated his shots.]

The enemy soldier sprayed his submachine gun at the surprised soldiers. A bullet glanced Higgins' helmet and he instinctively dropped to the ground, while Jones was missed completely. As Jones hurried to take cover behind the taxi, Higgins fired his shotgun at an awkward angle (being on the ground.) While he missed the enemy soldier, this also made him go to the ground. A moment later, the enemy soldier stood up, faster than Higgins, and shot him again, a bullet grazing his arm [actually, he got an Obviously Dead result but i was saved by star power.]

The other enemy soldiers appeared from behind the building, surprising both Krantz and Jones. He opened fire with his submachine gun, wounding Jones who had just moved to hide from the other enemy. [I ran an In Sight test between the three "groups" of single soldiers, each counting as their own temporary leader. The enemy won and fired at Jones. As Krantz was far from Jones, he did not need to make a Crisis test.]

As the enemy soldier was exposed, Krantz fired at him and managed to take him down. Likewise, Higgins rose to a kneeling position and hit his opponent with his shotgun.

After this firefight, the team retrieved the wounded Jones, captured the two wounded enemy soldiers and completed the patrol mission without further incident. Back at the base, Jones' wounds were treated and he recovered well. This encounter with the enemy was evidence that the rebels were indeed sending scouts to probe the area.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Alien Fight Night: First Impressions

Since I am having so much fun with 5150 Urban Renewal, I decided to buy the two supplements available for it, New Hope City PI and Alien Fight Night. As I really liked Red Sun Black Moon, I decided to try Alien Fight Night first.

Alien Fight Night is a stand-alone supplement to play boxing matches between humans and even aliens. It can be used on its own, for one-off fights or championships, and it can be combined with Urban Renewal in some ways. You can convert your 5150 character into a fighter, or make a character who is a manager of various fighters. You can add a boxing match as part of an encounter, as illustrated in this action report on the Two Hour Wargames blog.

To try the game, I built the ring template and fighter tokens. Then I picked up two low-ranking pre-generated fighters, among the dozens given in the book. Here is how the fight went, in a very shady club in Little Hisha, New Hope City:

"Ladies and gentlemen, we begin tonight's show with a match between two rising stars!" Despite his best attempts, the hishen announcer's rasp voice didn't do much to draw the spectators' attention. "On my right side, here comes everyone's favorite, Neby!" Some spectators, most of them hishen, roared as Neby stood up and removed his robe. He was taller than the average hishen, and also carried more muscle and fat. On the streets, he was known as Neby, the Burly Hishen.

"And on my right, I present you with Ken 'Lightning' Folstom," shouted the announcer. The crowd was a mix of applause, cheers and laughter. After some failed attempts at high tech theft and other shady jobs, Ken had fallen on hard times. A "friend" convinced him to start fighting in these boxing matches, and he was still trying to build a reputation.

Ken and Neby walked to the center of the ring, touched gloves and the announcer-turned-referee stepped back. Staring into the hishen's eyes, he felt his heart pumping and his muscles tingling. And then the fight was on.

Round 1
The two fighters started circling each other, throwing jabs and feinting to try to "read" each other. It became clear to Ken that the hishen was slower than him, and soon he found an opening, landing a few punches and moving closer. Neby covered up, blocking the punches and eventually clinched him. The referee pulled them apart and resumed the fight. Ken tried again to gain the advantage, but the hishen dodged his punches and hit back, and hard. Ken stepped back, trying to block the alien's strong hits but soon he was with his back against the ropes, then trapped into a corner and finally lying on he ground, with a swollen eye after taking a straight on the face.
Round 2
Ken didn't have much time to recover, and the new round began. Sensing the advantage, Neby started the round with a sequence of punches, causing a cut over Ken's left eye as he was again pushed against the ropes. By this time, his reactions were slow and he couldn't block the following jabs and straights. Cornered once more, he was knocked down and the referee ended the fight with a TKO for Neby.

The crowd cheered and Neby stood at the center of the ring, while the club staff carried Ken to the locker room.

This was a fun game session, and even though I had just read the rules, it was not difficult to learn. Like in Red Sun Black Moon, the fight is driven by a set of tables depending on the tactical situation. However, each one has its own "flavor," be it boxing or gladiatorial combat, reflected on the rules and tables.

This match was played with two "grunt" fighters, that is, running all their actions based on the game mechanics. As discussed in the book, when playing with a Star fighter, the player has to make some tactical decisions, involving the use of star power dice and bonus dice. Regardless, I like how both games build a narrative of the fight, to which the player can add details according to their imagination. I might run a new small tournament-based campaign using these rules.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chain Reaction 3.1 Final Version!

By the end of May, Ed from Two Hour Wargames (THW) announced that he was about to release an update for the free Chain Reaction and Swordplay systems. Today Chain Reaction 3.1 Final Version has been released. This is the "introductory" game for people interested in THW products and also a very flexible toolbox that allows solo (or co-op) play of a variety of skirmish scenarios.

So, what has changed? For starters, the new book is even better organized than the previous one. The many examples and the "Stop!" boxes will probably be very helpful for newcomers.

The rules also saw some cleaning up and streamlining. Many different reactions have been grouped up into the Crisis and Recover tests. One could argue that the reaction tables still have conditional text for some specific situations. Still, this move makes the learning and look-up of reactions simpler. Oddly, the simple campaign present in the previous version has been removed.

Lastly, there is some blending of old and new ideas, as could be expected as the game systems evolve. For instance, the "hunker down" status has been added back. This, along with the "duck back" status can model different levels of suppression. The "in sight" test also looks like a mix of those found in 5150 Star Army (and older titles) and the one introduced in Chain Reaction Final Version (and also present in After the Horsemen, 5150 New Beginnings and Urban Renewal.)

Overall, I would expect this new version to be easier to learn and faster to play. I am thinking of adopting the new "in sight" rules for Star Army, and maybe even other titles that I own.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jenkins' Story - Part 2

Here is another part of Jenkins' Story in New Hope City. This time I decided to set up a board and play with the aid of a tablet, instead of using the computer. It turns out that switching between reader, dice roller and note-taking apps works quite well. I also built a number of miniatures of the 5150 Paper Warriors set, as well as some PEF markers.

February 2220
At the beginning of the month, Jenkins receives a call from someone called Audrey. She sets up a meeting at a cheap hotel near the spaceport to talk about a job proposition [an involuntary encounter.]

Jenkins meets with Audrey and some "friend" of hers. It seems that they work at an industry in the spaceport area and need someone to guard them during a certain "transaction." The pay is not great but he takes the job. Audrey and her friend want him to guard a deal where they will be selling some drugs. They are afraid that Steve, their former "partner in crime" will try to interfere. Although Steve is a pharmacy clerk, he has contacts with gangers.

The deal takes place at a building in the spaceport, in the evening. This time, Viper comes along with Jenkins, so they stand in front of the building [the table setup was also very similar to the picture above.]

Time passes and there is no sign of gangers. A group of workers leaves a nearby building and walks down the street. Jenkins nods at them and they seem to tired to care. Late in the night, a single ganger comes around the block, pointing a weapon at them. Jenkins shoots first, knocking the ganger to the ground. Viper shoots and misses, and then the ganger shoots Jenkins in the chest [an Obviously Dead result, reduced only to Out of the Fight by a bad Star Power roll!] Viper shoots again, this time hitting the ganger in the head. Worried about the police sirens, she picks up Jenkins and carries him away. Across the street, a single worker going home late witnesses the firefight, hidden behind a dumpster...

Two days later, Jenkins is arrested due to an anonymous tip. He is charged for brandishing a weapon and for disturbing the peace, and this time is found guilty. He spends the next two months in jail [and his People skill is reduced by 2 points, ouch!] Despite all this mess, Viper remains loyal to him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Urban Renewal: Jenkins' Story

I have finished reading 5150 Urban Renewal, the revised edition for Two Hour Wargames' 5150 New Beginnings. There is a bit of streamlining of the rules (for instance, no more stunned status or hit locations) but, more than that, there is a considerable overhaul of the campaign system.

In Urban Renewal you start a campaign with your Star alone. Recruiting grunts is a mission in itself, and sometimes you may actually want to do missions on your own. There is a defined goal: improve your character as much as you can before retiring, over a span of at most 10 years -- the campaign officially starts at January 2220 and time advances by months. This way, characters now will want to complete jobs mostly for a better chance to improve their Rep and skills, balancing risks and rewards.

To try out the campaign system I created the following character:

JERRY JENKINS (Star) - Sales Clerk (LWC) / Cash 2
REP 5 / FIT 4 / PEP 5 / SAV 3
Resilient, Greedy
Equipment: BA Pistol, Com-link
Home: Lower Polariston

Instead of making my Star as a bounty hunter, ganger or some other more "adventurous" type, I decided to go for one of the "ordinary joe" professions. Jenkins is a clerk at a holo-vid store, with plans of getting rich quickly. He has made some deals involving contraband and is looking for other profitable jobs. So let's get started:

January 2220:
Jenkins decides to look for others who might be interested to work with him. [This is my first encounter for the month and I set it up as a Chillin' encounter at a bar in Lower Polariston, during the evening.] On the way to the bar, he notices three women leaving an abandoned building. He recognizes their jackets: one of the local gangs. Jenkins walks into the bar, sits at the counter and looks around. There is just a bunch of old drunk men sitting around, no one he would want in a risky job. Not long after, the three ganger women enter the building. Eventually, Jenkins starts talking to them and gets on their good side [a successful People challenge.] He writes down Viper's comlink ID and tells her that he will call if a job comes up. When Jenkins leaves the bar, he is approached by a man in a trenchcoat, coming from an alley: a robbery. He draws his pistol when he sees the robber's machine pistol pointed at him. Shots are fired but no one is hit. While Jenkins runs away from the robber, police sirens can be heard in the distance.

Jenkins then starts looking for jobs [I spend another encounter to look for jobs, getting two offers.] He meets with a certain Mr. Rolf in a Green shop at the Financial district. Rolf is looking for someone who will "retrieve" something for him. The pay is good, so he accepts the job and gets the details. So now Jenkins must break into a restaurant in Middleton and steal some body parts (!) from there, no questions asked. The catch is that the restaurant owner's brother is a police sergeant who has the habit of protecting the place.

Jenkins contacts Viper about the job, but when he mentions the involvement of a police sergeant, she says that she will not take part in it. He decides to break into the restaurant late in the night, so he prepares and takes the train to Middleton. He moves down the street to the restaurant without drawing attention, forces the lock of a side door and enters. Once inside, he catches the sergeant off guard, causing him to snap fire and miss [thanks to the Resilient attribute and Star power.] Jenkins shoots back and also misses. In a rush of adrenaline, he jumps at the sergeant. Taken by surprise, the man fires again but Jenkins pushes his arm to the side and knocks him out with a well-placed pistol whip. He manages to find the body parts while hearing police sirens. As he runs down the street, two police cruisers appear and quickly he has two pistols and two shotguns pointed at him. Jenkins surrenders and is arrested, charged for attempted murder and stealing. Surprisingly, he manages to get bail until his judgment.

Nine days later, Jenkins is summoned to court. After a long and taxing trial, he is considered not guilty due to some technical issues! His lawyer boasts his own ability to defend him... but maybe someone in the shadows wanted to avoid exposing the whole issue with the body parts in the restaurant... [Some lucky rolls allowed this "not guilty" result while rolling 3 dice against 7 of the accusation, so I came up with this idea about some "shadowy" influences...]

This completes the first month of Jenkins' campaign. Characters that may re-appear later: Mr. Rolf, Jocelyn and Hannah (the other two gangers he met in the bar), Jonah (the police sergeant). Despite his failed mission, Viper has remained in the group.

My first impressions about the campaign system of 5150 Urban Renewal are very positive.  As I am still "learning my way" around the new campaign system, this took me a few hours to play. In a way, it reminds me of Larger Than Life, also from Two Hour Wargames: very narrative-driven, a real blend of RPG and wargame. I played this in the computer, as it made it faster to set up different boards than doing so on the table. I will continue Jenkins' campaign to see how far he goes.