Saturday, March 26, 2016

Starfighters for MapTool

Here is another token pack for MapTool. This time there are four starfighter styles, in three color schemes.
A compressed file containing the tokens and the Inkscape file with the original vector drawings can be downloaded by clicking here. The files are shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Vagrant - Zetaris

Previously: Winston and team left Letos II after some troubles, and are on route to Zetaris, a Zhuh-zhuh controlled world. On the way, they picked up some cargo from pirates that attacked the Vagrant.

Month #7
The rest of the trip to Zetaris was uneventful. Winston and crew landed on the spaceport of Trellis, a smaller, industrial settlement, and went looking for someone to sell the pirate cargo.

On their way to the Mutant Shack, a seedy tavern at the Pub & Rec area, they met a couple of scientists looking for "recreational drugs." During the rest of the night, they attracted the attention of a local gang, but Winston managed to avoid a fight. Then a band of drunk administrative workers also tried to pick a fight but Pingh convinced Winston that they would not find any dealer around, so they left.

Month #8
Winston was contacted by Gek, leader of the gang he met last month, who invited him to go and meet some "important people." While they went to the Triangle Casino, they met Anders, a local dealer. Winston arranged to meet him again later.

At the casino, they met with Togal, a Zhuh-zhuh that Gek described as "the owner of the trade business in Trellis." Winston caused a good impression on him, who said that he might have some jobs for him later. [Note: this was a chillin' encounter caused by a random event.]

Anders and Winston met at the Mutant Shack. It seemed that his luck was changing: he had no encounters on his way and Anders was, indeed, waiting for him at the tavern. They arranged a meeting at the Spaceport area the next night.

Winston went along with Pingh and Axor. Anders was accompanied by three mercenaries. Winston tried to haggle a better price for the cargo, but did not succeed. Still, the cargo was sold and thus, they had more money on hand. Time to go somewhere else, but not before talking to Togal one more time.

Winston gained two Rep D6 for selling the pirate cargo, but they did not cause a Rep increase (neither die rolled a 6.) His lifetime total is 6 dice, still too low for a comfortable retirement.

Note: This post accidentally went "live" on march 19th, and then was corrected and updated on march 22nd.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

An ambush between tribesmen

Theg, a veteran warrior, is on patrol with his nephew Dorn and Ebner, the archer. There have been conflicts with a neighboring tribe and they have to make sure no enemies are hiding in their territory.
[The warriors must reach the opposing board edge and return, having passed through both patches of wood to complete their patrol. The yellow pieces are possible enemy forces.]

A group of two warriors and an archer appears from behind the large rocks. The enemy archer shoots an arrow at Theg, missing. They run towards cover of the nearby low wall and Ebner takes down the archer. The enemy warriors are scattered, running for cover.

Theg and companions advance, then the enemy springs from the woods. Another group of two warriors and archer. Again, the enemy archer misses Theg, and then the warriors enter combat. Theg manages to hurt his opponent before being cut down. Dorn, eager to enter combat, is quickly defeated with a stab in the chest.

Terrified, Ebner flees and the enemies do not chase him.

This battle was played using Chain Reaction Swordplay 2015 and only took two turns in 20-30 minutes of play. Flat terrain was drawn with sharpies and colored with crayons in a bout of arts and crafts mood. Miniatures are very simple outlines of warriors and archers done in Inkscape and built in tri-fold shape. Everything was done in reduced scale, using centimeters instead of inches.

The battle between Theg (rep 5 star) and the enemy veteran warrior turned into a mini-game with several rounds. It got me rolling for Star Power three times, and this was the first time I saw all Star Power dice being expended in a battle. Meanwhile, Dorn lost the first round of melee and his opponent rolled a natural 6, killing him right away.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Vagrant - Letos II

Previously: Winston and team took a transport job to take a Hishen investigative reporter to Letos II, in the 5th ring.

Month #4
There were no more events during the trip and the Vagrant landed on Polara -- the one and only settlement on the planet. Letos II was an independent planet and Polara served as a trading post and headquarters to a few corporations. Due to the weather and radiation, most of Polara was built underground.

The spaceport of Polara on Letos II.
Keorn paid the rest of the credits for the trip and left them on the spaceport. Winston decided to go looking for information traders in the pub & rec area of the settlement.

Late in the night, Pingh sighted him entering the cheap hotel in a hurry. "What's up?" he asked in the usual reproving tone. "Maybe we should get out of this place..." Winston sounded tired. He told about the Xeog corporate executive who picked a fight with him for no reason, and ended up bleeding in an alley, and the Razor who tried to rob him on the way back. "And of course, you couldn't find any broker," Pingh finished, shaking his head.

Still, the pay for the transport job was good, and he was alive and without any bullet holes. [This month, Winston accumulated 3 increasing Rep dice, which added to his lifetime total. He also increased his Rep to 6, thanks to a good roll.]

Month #5
Convinced that the planet was more trouble than it was worth, Winston decided to go to Zetaris, a Zhuh-zhuh class 1 world on the fourth ring, sixth sector. Thus they took off from Letos II and on to the jump gate.

On the way, they avoided contact with another Hishen ship, and then were approached by a Zhuh-zhuh cutter on patrol, who inspected the Vagrant but did not find anything unusual.

Month #6
Before they could reach the jump gate, the Vagrant was attacked by a pirate ship. The pirates came in firing their lasers and demanding that Winston and crew surrendered. Instead, he was able to outmaneuver and cause extensive damage to the enemy ship.

Seeing that their ambush did not work, and unable to escape due to his damaged ship, the pirate captain surrendered. Despite Pingh's suggestions, they put all the pirates on life pods, sent them to a nearby planet and destroyed the ship, gaining some contraband.

After this, they met a Xeog named Virka, in command of a trader ship. They traveled together to sector 6 and then parted ways. Zetaris was now near, and Winston had high hopes of finding buyers for both the data pack and the cargo gained from the pirates. [This month, Winston gained 1 increasing Rep die because of the combat with the pirate ship. It rolled a 6, causing another increase in Rep!]

These three months were very good for Winston, although he still has a long way to go if he wants to retire comfortably. Now, at Rep 7, he can take more risks.

This time I had my first ship to ship combat in Fringe Space. The rules take a bit to get used to, as the battle flows from table to table (like in Red Sun Black Moon, for instance) but they work well and do not require setting up a board, especially if there are only two ships involved.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Battle for Zorpel: Closing Time

After ten battle reports, I think it is time to finish the Battle for Zorpel campaign. A few thoughts about the campaign and the tools presented in Five Core 2:

The campaign system is good, with its random events and character advancement. The campaign progress system may result in quite long campaigns if you play until one side reaches 10 progress points. During these 10 battles, it fluctuated between -2 and 2.

The mission generator is great. The board setups that I ended up playing were quite different from each other and different from what I would have made on my own. I barely used the force generator but I can see them both used together to create very different one-shot games.

The character classes and skills add detail and variety to the forces and worked really well in this campaign, in which each side had 3-4 figures.

Despite all of these tools, I should have worked more on the background of the campaign. The general setting (directly inspired by Legions of Steel) gave some meaning to the battles but they still felt disconnected. A region map with settlement locations etc. might have helped.

Likewise, an outline of the colonial forces and maybe a detailed description of a few recurring characters (instead of an unlimited supply of new grunts replacing the losses) might have made the battles more meaningful.

The two battles fought using MapTool worked well (even if they did not look pretty). Now that I have learned how to rotate tokens in small increments (using Control+Shift+Mouse wheel) I have to try playing games with element bases in it.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Black Ops: Data Theft

"Ok folks, all we need to do is to enter the building, copy those files and move out." Even when keeping her voice down, Kate could put energy in her words. The rest of the team nodded. Jamie had checked her machine gun twice. Bill and Eric had their automatic shotguns ready. For a stealth mission, this was a lot of noisy hardware, but that's how they played: if the plan went wrong, would you rather have a silenced pistol or a heavy machine gun at your side?

This was a stealth mission played using Black Ops. The special ops team (pictured left) are Kate (leader), Jamie (heavy), Bill and Eric (soldiers). The opposition is a mercenary commander and six soldiers. Each side is just below 50 points.
The opposing forces, roughly 50 points per side.
The operatives must enter the building closest to the center, then spend two activations inside to steal the data files. Then they must leave through the same edge they entered. There are two mercenaries on patrol, and the rest are in buildings.The ones in the buildings will only leave on a reaction roll of 7+. This is similar to the espionage scenario in a city board, from the game rules.
Starting board. The spec ops enter from the bottom edge; the mercenaries are spread around.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Treasure Hunt

I recently bought the Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes book. While the core rules remain the same, there are some new options for activation, as well as special rules for weapons and an expanded magic system.

In order to try the new activation, I played a battle between dwarves and orcs, using profiles given in the book. Note that now the standard force size is 400 points (up from 300) with more allowance for personalities.

The dwarf warband was composed of Captain Tormak (Leader Swordsman w/shield), Brelik (Hero Swordsman w/shield), 2x Trained Heavy Axeman, 2x Veteran Heavy Axeman, and 2x Veteran Crossbow Wielder.

The orcs had Warchief Krakk (War-Leader), 4x Armored Spearman and 4x Chosen Bowman.

The new book does not include scenarios so I used the Treasure Hunt scenario from the "basic" Song of Blades and Heroes. There are three treasure markers and both warbands compete to find the treasure and take it away through their starting edge of the map. This is the initial board setup. The treasure chests mark the possible locations of the treasure.
For some reason, the short movement stick was not included in the exported screenshot.
The plan for the dwarves was to have their leader activating as a group with the trained axemen, going for the treasure marker in the distant forest patch. The hero would go for the marker in the ruins, covered by the crossbowmen, and the two veterans would move to the closest marker.

The orcs split in three groups, with the leader and two spearmen going for the farthest marker, and two teams of spearman and bowmen going for the other two markers.