November 7, 2016

Sturmgeshutz and Sorcery - Part V

Whew! That game was a lot of fun. I wanted to post a few notes about the mechanics of pushing Donnybrook to such extremes. As I've said many times, the core rules of Donnybrook are something I've been using for years before we published them, often making up new rules as the game went along to cover situations I hadn't planned on.

In this case, I needed to be able to cover rules for magic, monsters, and freaking machineguns!

Let's start with the last bit first...

Rifle - Range 24", -1 armor save
SMG - Range 12", d3 hits (targets must be within 2" of primary target, no target may be hit more than once)
Pistol - Range 6", Close Combat (as per Donnybrook)
Light Machinegun - Range 36", Move or Fire (unless mounted on vehicle), -1 armor save, d3 hits (targets must be within 2" of primary target, no target may be hit more than once)
Autocannon - Range 48", no armor save, d6 hits (targets must be within 2" of primary target, no target may be hit more than once)
Panzerfaust - Range 12", Move or Fire, no armor save, d3 hits (targets must be within 2" of primary target, no target may be hit more than once), one shot

These are simply designed to be relative for game purposes and not meant to realistically mimic real world weapons. In Donnybrook, Muskets get a range of 24", so modern rifles would obviously be better, but 24" works well on the tabletop so everything else was worked to that. In a game that might include modern weapons and muskets (Darkest Africa) I would simply reduce the range of muskets to 16" to maintain the relative table top abilities of the weapon. If I were to go all out and make a Donnybrook WW2 system, I would a little more effort in representing the variety of modern weapons, but the above chart worked well my my game.

So, vehicles. Each vehicle has a card in the action deck just like other units. Wheeled vehicles may move up to 18" if entirely on a road, but only 6" off road, and woods and other rough terrain are impassable. Halftracks move 12" in all cases, but again rough terrain is impassable. Tracked vehicles move 6" in all cases, but may also power through rough terrain, including woods. Again, nothing specifically scientific. The rules work well with the fact that the other side has trolls and orcs.

Attacking vehicles was handled simply. Each was assigned an armor value (civilian/light 9, armored transports 11, tanks 13). Weapons are assigned a Strength value and a successful hit means rolling 1d6 plus the weapon strength. If the total is higher, then the armor is breached and you roll on a damage chart (I just used a Warhammer 40k chart). If the total equals the armor, the vehicle is marked with a pin marker simply meaning when the vehicle card comes up, the crew must make a morale teat before they can act on the card. The pin marker is automatically removed regardless of the test.

In the case of my game, only the Magician's Fireball (STR8) had a chance of damaging the vehicles at range. I gave the brutes (Ogres and Trolls) a chance to damage vehicles in close combat as well...

Ogres and trolls! These monsters were rated as d12 combatants. Both had the special rule Brute, which means their d12 is only used for combat and actions relying on strength or savagery. A non-combat action of another sort (say climbing a wall) would be tested using a d6. In addition, trolls can regenerate wounds so are allowed to roll on the character wound chart unless the wound is caused by fire (or Panzerfaust). For this game, I also allowed the Brutes to have a chance to damage vehicles. If they hit, a second d12 roll was made and applied in a manner similar to the process listed above (only the d12 roll, not +1d6).

Sample other monsters...
Orcs d8, -1 die type in sunlight, +1 armor saves
Mummies d10, Cause Fear (enemies must make morale test to fight in close combat), Relentless (move 4" but immune to non-heavy weapons)
Giant Scorpion d10, Scuttling (ignore linear and rough terrain for movement purposes - NOT water), Fast (move 8", may make two attacks in close combat), Poison (enemy make wound tests at -1 die type)

Spells were based on oldschool games...

Cleric d6 - no spell, but may TURN UNDEAD
Cleric d8 - 1 spell
Cleric d10 - 1 spell
Cleric d12 - 1 spell

Magician d6 - 1 spell, cannot wear armor
Magician d8 - 1 spell, never rolls more than d6 in close combat
Magician d10 - 1 spell
Magician d12 - 1 spell

All levels are cumulative, so Cleric d10 has turn undead and two spells or Magician d12 has 4 spells, can't wear armor and never rolls more than d6 in close combat. The spells were simply chosen from Chainmail (an ancient wargame and the precursor to D&D) and 'Donnybrooked'. To successfully launch a spell, the caster needed to roll a 6+ on his ability die (roll of a natural one means the attempted spell is gone from the caster's mind and may not be attempted for the rest of the game). Range was dependent on ability as well with 6" per level...

Curse - target suffer 1 die type penalty. Curse ends on End of Turn card
Fireball - d6 hits (targets must be within 2" of primary target, no target may be hit more than once), STR 8 vs vehicles
Sleep - d6 hits (targets must be within 2" of primary target, no target may be hit more than once)
Summon Swarm - character or unit must pass morale test when their card comes up. Failure roll a d6, 1-3 do nothing, 4-6 full move in a random direction. Remains in play until morale test is passed.

Right! That's just a sample. I'm working on a fantasy version that includes Fighters and Thieves for oldschool dungeon bashing and many more monsters. This might see the light of day at some point (Donnybrook Dungeons), at least as a PDF if nothing else. I really just wanted to show how you can really push the envelope on Donnybrook to make it fit any sort of game you can come up with.

November 2, 2016

Sturmgeshutz and Sorcery - Part IV

At long last, decades in the making...

Whew! The Germans still had powerful weapons with the machineguns mounted on the halftracks and probably could have wreaked more havoc yet, but the magician was still stalking around south of the river and he had the potential to damage the vehicles (though he was hiding, now being the ONLY target left for the halftracks south of the river). There was more that happened, but either I didn't have photos or it ended up not being relevant to the story.

  • There were two trolls south of the river, and the SS managed to blow one to kingdom come with a panzerfaust, but I failed to capture the moment. 
  • The squad on the bridge riddled the archer with bullets reducing him from his starting d10 skill to d4, making him virtually useless.
  • The Evil High Priest successfully cast Summon Insects late in the game (after failing the casting rolls earlier) and followed up with Curse which made it difficult for the AC crew to shake the effects for several rounds.
  • There were two mummies that got shot to pieces by machineguns.
  • The Germans had a medic with them on the bridge that allowed rank and file soldiers to use the Wound Save chart, but all three victims of arrows failed and were killed anyway!
So how did all of this work with Donnybrook? Actually great. I'll offer some ideas in a follow up next week, though I'm considering the commercial aspects of publishing supplements so I'm not sure how detailed I should get. Let me just say if you are an experienced gamer, working out mods for Donnybrook is not all that difficult. The vehicle rules are the hardest part and I'm not sure they are right yet, though they worked very well for my solo game.

In any case, it has been a near lifelong dream to play this out on the table and I had a blast! I'm looking forward to a second round with some of my friends.

October 30, 2016

Sturmgeshutz and Sorcery

Coming next week...

Finally had a chance to play this game and I used Donnybrook with mods for fantasy AND submachineguns! No idea what this is? Check out these posts... or just stay tuned for the mayhem!

October 24, 2016

My Dad Builds Models in 1:1 Scale

My father (red shirt) rebuilt this Farmall Cub tractor from a rusty, non-working hulk over the course of two years. He sourced as many original parts as possible (an eBay hunt that mirrors my search for 1980's era Citadel models), sanded away rust, repainted everything, and repaired the engine to working order. He asked for my modeling expertise to apply the decals as a finishing touch...

Early on when I asked why he was doing this, he asked "Why do you paint little men?" Oh... got it!

Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool!

EDIT: Mom sent me some WiP pics...

Dad sporting a beard (!) and one of his friends who helped with the project...

September 1, 2016

Dark Age Village

I alluded to the fact a few weeks ago that I was scratch building a Dark Age village. There are lots of nice commercial products available for this period, but when I realized how many I wanted, I decided I'd better try to build some of my own. Besides I enjoy scratch building from time to time and decided to give it a try. These models have actually been finished for a while, but I only got the chance to take pictures last night.

They are made completely from foamcore, balsa wood, and teddy bear fur. I'm afraid I didn't take any WiP photos. I was working without templates and kind of doing everything by eye. I got so caught up in the construction process, I forgot to document any of it (hopefully when I go to add more I can remember what I did)! If you have questions, post them below and I'll try to answer them...

The fences were interesting. My first thought was to make tight waddle fences from wire (like the wattle door on the first building above), but when I turned to Google for inspiration, I found images of some very 'rough' looking fences that seemed to have much more character.

These fences are made from toothpicks and fake bamboo shoots purchased from a craft store. I stumbled on the material by accident while looking for floral wire. The wispy ends had enough flexibility to weave between the posts and I secured them with a bit of liquid superglue. I have six sections, but I easily have enough material from the fake bamboo to make 60...

I am very pleased with the results. I want to build another large house, a main hall, and a church, plus a handful of outbuildings. Besides being great for any Dark Ages era, these would be great for the Medieval period, rural areas of the Renaissance period, and the Rohirrim of Middle Earth!

More Dark Age troops on the way...

August 16, 2016

Summoning the Fyrd

The warband is growing steadily and I have now finished the first half of the fyrd.

I wanted the fyrd to appear a little less grim than the huscarls. I chose marginally brighter colors and varied the shields for a more unruly appearance. I'm very pleased with how they turned out.

Eight more to go and my initial goal is finished. I'm splitting time between painting soldiers and scratch building a Dark Age village. Pics of the settlement coming up soon...

August 14, 2016

More Saxons!

Last week I managed to paint more Saxons for my Donnybrook project!

The first model is the leader for my Huscarls. In Donnybrook the model will provide a combat bonus for the unit if he is attached. I haven't gotten around to naming my models still, but it will be a must when I go to make unit and character cards.

The next is a reeve who will lead the fyrd, again giving a bonus to a unit if attached.

More Saxons in a few days...

August 1, 2016

Saxon Huscarls

I had a productive week and managed to finish eight huscarls for my Saxon warband (models are all Footsore Miniatures).

As I mentioned in my first post on this project, these are for Donnybrook. I think it is probably unrealistic for the warriors to have the same color shields without all bearing the same device as well, but I wanted to tie the unit together visually. I also wanted the shields to be dark and brooding to emphasize the grim nature of these household troops. I decided to avoid black and opted for a dark blue (French Blue 65A-C) and a warm brown (Bay Brown 42A-C). Slashes and pock marks were carefully painted with French Blue Shade 65A and the undersides of these highlighted with Slate Grey 32B (on the blue) and Spearshaft Brown 13B (on the brown). These are all Wargames Foundry colors. By the way, the Foundry French Blue triad has worked it's way into my list of 'Paints I Can't Do Without'. It is a great alternative to black, providing contrast to your models with a richer finish.

As I also mentioned before, I'm using the 1-2-3 basing system of Dalauppror for this collection. I HATE the look of movement trays once units start accumulating casualties. This method of basing allows for easy casualty removal while allowing for quicker movement and the ability to create vignettes. The models won't be ranked as neatly as units on square bases, but I think that's inappropriate for this period anyway. Even close order troops would likely not be able to maintain precision formations advancing across uneven ground.

I'm starting on the Fyrd next week. Their shields will have much more variety in color, though I'm still going to choose muted tones - blue grey, terracotta, bone, etc.

We are going to produce an 'official' Dark Age supplement in PDF that should be available this fall, but you will still need the Donnybrook rulebook to play the game. The PDF will present rule mods and special characters to set your games in the 7th-11th centuries (and probably a bit more either way). I'll have more details on this as I have more concrete information.

In a bit of other news, sometime during Historicon I passed 500 posts (I think this makes 505)! I just wanted to thank everyone who keeps stopping by. I find blogs a great tool for myself to catalog projects and I often look up old posts to see how I painted something or verify the number of models in a collection without digging out the storage boxes (my collection has long outgrown the two large display cases I own). The fact that anyone else wants to follow my rambling is icing on the cake.

Thanks, and stay tuned!

July 29, 2016

Final Thoughts on Historicon 2016

I've just finished going through my notes preparing records for my own Glorious Obsession. It is impossible for me to do a write up on every game we ran, but I wanted to highlight some of the action.

First of all, hats off to Captain Murray who had to be the most active officer on the table. He was killed in game one by an errant shot (Event Card) that caused the rout of the Williamite center on the last turn of the game, fought a personal duel on the crest of the Pennyburn Bridge and killed General Maumont in game two, led a charge that recaptured a lost standard in game three, 'rescued' General Maumont's Mistress from the Jacobite camp and led the most decisive win of the week in game five with a victory called after eight turns (out of ten), and got caught up in a retreat and drowned in a bog in game seven. He personally led multiple cavalry charges. His first squadron was ALWAYS the first over the bridge in the assault and were routed or destroyed in every game except one. His second squadron fared slightly better and managed to survive four games, but suffered capture in game two. Bull's cavalry suffered serious casualties as well, but not in the spectacular fashion of Murray's!

Lord Grand Priors's battalion fought well. They were deployed near the bridge and had to withstand multiple cavalry charges almost every game. They managed to capture colors from both of Murray's squadrons in game two.

The Kestrel proved to be an entertaining part of the scenario. The effectiveness of the guns varied depending on the skill of the players with maneuvering in the current, but it did reduce a scratch squadron of Jacobite horse to a bloody smear at near point blank range in one game. We had a boarding action once when Jacobite troops launched a small boat to pursue the ship. Another game featured a waterborne 'sniper' duel when a lone soldier (his partner fell overboard) spent the session picking off crew men. Near the end of the game, the captain became so alarmed at the losses that they turned loose a full broadside at the little boat... by turn ten the launch was sinking, but the sniper managed to paddle to shore!

Besides all of the enthusiastic gamers at our table, I had a lot of fun hanging out 'after hours' with people I had only really conversed with online, including Dan Faulconbridge and Dave Taylor.

So how was the rest of Historicon? Well, I don't really know. I didn't get away from our table often. There was a few grumbles about registration (which I think I avoided as a GM who checked in Wednesday night), but for the most part everyone I talked to seemed to be having a good time. I've seen other negative comments that it was too hot in the main hall (which I never noticed), a funny smell (besides the great smell of hot dogs grilling near by, again I didn't notice) or there weren't as many people (several dealers I spoke with said their sales were up). I guess I was just having too much fun...

It was also great to get to hang out with my partner in crime (photo above the only proof I've seen that we were BOTH at the table - from Thomas Grove). We've only been in the same city twice in the ten years we've been working together so it was good to be able to sit down and share a beer (well. ok lots of beers). I honestly don't know if we'd get anything accomplished that didn't including toy soldiers if we lived on the same continent...

July 24, 2016

My First Saxons!

Yes, I am excited about painting these models! I normally start with a pile of rank and file and 'reward' myself with leader types once I've got a good muster of troops, but this time I wanted to assemble the leaders of the warband first.


This will be Lord Aeth-something... I haven't decided exactly, but there are a pile of good Saxon nobles that begin with that syllable! There are a lot of great shield transfers out there, but I decided to paint all of my shields by hand. To some degree that will limit the level of detail that I can add, but I think they will blend in better with my style of painting.

The Lord's most trust retainer carries the holy Christian banner of his house into battle. Of course the flag is Quindia Studios and made in the same style of the Grand Alliance, GNW, and AWI collections offered at the LoA store. No, there are no plans to offer Dark Ages flags in the shop at this time - this one was just for me!

The paints used are Wargames Foundry, except for the metallics which are Games Workshop. Both models were given a dusty campaign appearance with weathering powders.

Quick review - The Footsore Miniatures are a joy to paint. There was virtually no flash on these models, which is important on chainmail as you can never quite get rid of mould lines without ruining some of the armour. The models are crisp and even tiny details like the button on the pouches are easy to pick out with a brush. These compare well with any other brand I buy and if you are thinking about starting a Dark Age project, they are well worth considering.

The rest of the armoured lads are up next!