Friday, April 24, 2015

X-Wing Death Star Trench Cooperative Game -- Version #2

We took another shot at our Death Star Trench Cooperative Game this weekend.  Wanted to share how that went!
TurboLaser Turrets

First of all, we started working on TurboLaser Turrets.  That turned out to be tricker than we had thought.  Had seen some really nice ones built up by others - and we were inspired to try the same.  Our idea was to make them out of pink foam -- with little rectangles glued on to make them look like actual Death Star construction.

Well, that turned out to be easier said than done.  We had a really hard time making ours come out square!  So, we did make a couple of them, but not very happy with the base foam yet.  So, going to try this again -- with more detailed cutting method to try to hit 90-degree corners a little bit better.

TurboLaser Turret; Battle Gaming One; X-Wing; Death Star Trench
Not too happy with the appearance of our TurboLaser Turret "pieces" -- going to have to use a different method for cutting!

Another thing we didn't like (when all done) is that they certainly seemed too small.  So, going to think about making them out of 3-4 layers of pink foam instead of just 2.

TurboLaser Turrets; Turbo Laser Turrets; Death Star Trench; X-Wing; FFG X-Wing Death Star; Battle Gaming One
 Here are our prototypes in the trench.  Now that they're in there they look WAY too short.  Going to make the next round 3-4 layers of pink foam tall.

Next we worked on our rules....  

Here is the set of rules we used.  We took careful notes as we played - and made a note when we found that a particular rule wasn't working well....  Also - you'll see that we're calling this the "Easy Version."  Our goal was to make this fun - but not super hard.  We want to tune this for a younger group of X-Wing players who want to experience the thrill of blowing up the Death Star first-hand :)

Easy Version of Trench Game
1)      Each player gets a Rebel squadron
a.      Red, Gold, Rogue
b.      Rebel squadrons will be 3 fighters each
c.      Players can choose whether these 3 fighters are X or Y-wings
2)      The players work as a team and decide when they will enter the trench
3)      One squadron of Empire fighters will enter the trench 2 turns after each Rebel squadron
a.      In the easy version, there will only be Darth Vader plus 4 TIE fighters in a single squadron
4)      Empire operating rules
a.      Empire ships target the closest squadron regardless of strategic value
b.      The Force is with the Rebels.  In the easy version, the Empire squadron will always target the pilot with the lowest piloting skill first.
c.      Empire ships fly straight down the trench at top speed, avoiding red maneuvers.  The do not use any turns in the trench.
5)      The Falcon
a.      One turn after the last Empire squadron, the Millennium Falcon joins the battle
b.      The Falcon enters the trench right behind Darth Vader’s squadron
c.      The Falcon will focus on Darth Vader’s squadron and will operate with the actions which are the consensus of the team of players
6)      Darth Vader
a.      If Darth Vader reaches only 1 hull point, he leaves the game, being hurled from the area out of control
7)      Turbo Laser Turrets
a.      There are Two Turbo Laser Turrest placed half-way down the Trench in the Easy Version of the game.
b.      Rebel ships receive double their normal number of defense dice against the Turbo Laser Turrets.
c.      The Turbo Laser Turrets will always target the closest Rebel ship.
d.      Turbo Laser Turrets have 0 shields and 10 hull points
e.      Turbo Laser Turrets have 0 defense dice (because they cannot move)
f.       Turbo Laser Turrets have 5 attack dice
8)      Exhaust Port
a.      The Exhaust Port can only be hit with a Proton Torpedo
b.      Because the Force is with Luke Skywalker, he may have one extra attack die when firing on the Exhaust Port
c.      The Exhaust Port has 1 hull point (because a single hit is all that is required to start the chain reaction)
d.      The Exhaust Port has 6 defense dice (because it is tiny)
9)      Trench Walls
a.      Any fighter which hits a trench wall is destroyed

The Battle of Yavin!

So, we set up with one of us playing Gold Squadron Y-Wings and the other playing Red Squadron X-Wings.

We agreed that our strategy would be to have the Y-Wings go first -- and the X-Wings cover their their backs -- knowing that Darth and the TIE fighters would be closing in shortly after we entered the trench.

Gold Squadron; Gold Squadron attack run; Death Star Trench; Gold Squadron at Battle of Yavin;
Gold Squadron in the trench -- full throttle toward the exhaust port!

With the Y-Wings approaching the TurboLaser Turrets, shooting started in turn #3....  And, we started thinking about our first rule modification.

 Gold Squadron scores a hit on the TurboLaser Turret!
  • TurboLaser Turrets need to have a Pilot Skill -- and we decided that it should be 0 in the Easy Version of our game.
  • One TurboLaser Turret put 5 hits on Y-Wing Pilot #2.  That seemed really extreme -- so we started worrying that we had the number of attack dice too high.
  • And, in the same wave of attacks, the Y-Wings had only scratched the TurboLaser Turrets - so we also worried that the number of Hull Points was too high.
In Turn #4, Darth Vader and his squadron enter the trench and start firing away.  With our Force is With the Rebels rule -- plus with Biggs' card rule -- they're all shooting at Biggs.  Amazing rolling of the dice - he escapes damage....

Battle of Yavin; Darth Vader's squadron; I'm on the leader
"I'm on the leader...."
The Gold Squadron uses its Ion Cannons on the TurboLaser Turrets.  And, we realize that we hadn't anticipated this possibility....  So, time to think about rules again.
  • If a TurboLaser Turret is hit with an Ion Cannon -- it is unable to "move" and this means that it cannot aquire a target and fire.  [Realize that this is different than the rules for fighters in X-Wing - but it seems fair since the only "moving" they actually do is rotation and elevation changes.]
The Red Squadron tried something bold (and non-movie like) -- a K-turn in the trench.  (We had said that it was off-limits for the Empire in the East Version -- but hadn't said so for the Rebels.  Note of caution:  What a mess!  3 X-wings flying straight at 5 TIE fighters with very little room to spare.  There was some bumping -- and not all of the K-turns worked....

Han and Chewie entered in Turn #6 -- zooming in from the right-hand side.  At this point, all the fighters are still alive in the trench.  

Han and Chewie at the Battle of Yavin; Battle Gaming One; X-Wing Yavin
The Millennium Falcon zooms in....

But, the Y-Wings are really close to dead.  Time to think about the rules again.  Especially because without a change, when the Y-Wings go to fly past the TurboLaser Turrets -- they would be at Range 1 and get one additional damage die!!!
  • TurboLaser Turrets have a range of 2-3.  They cannot fire at Range 2.  (This seems fair since they are big and slow in comparison to the fighters -- plus seems in-line with how many of the really large weapons are treated on the fighters themselves.)
 In Turn 8 things are becoming exciting....  The Y-Wings are in-range of the exhaust port -- and all survive the turn long enough to fire....  But, they all miss!!!  The Falcon and Wedge do some damage to the TIE fighters.  Darth is down to 1 hull point and is slung from the trench; one of the other TIEs is wiped out.  But, with three TIEs still in hot pursuit, will the Y-Wings live through Turn 9 to have another shot ???

You're All Clear Kid; Battle of Yavin; Millenium Falcon; Death Star Trench
Our favorite line:  "You're all clear, kid!"

Turn 9!  Yes, they do survive (only just barely, though).  And, they fire....

It's a little bit of a nail biter because Dutch misses.  Then Gold Squadron Pilot #2 misses.  Then, on the last chance, lowly Gold Squadron #1 hits -- and BLOWS UP THE DEATH STAR!

Post Game Analysis:

Was it fun?  Well, about half-way through it started having a tedious feeling.  So, we're thinking about how to speed the game up.  Basically, if it could last 5 turns we think that would be about right (for the easy version)....  We have several ideas in mind....
  • We start the Rebels closer to the end exhaust port.  [This makes some sense because it's kind of like in Movie #4 when the fighters drop in to the trench exactly where they want to.]
  • Move the exhaust port closer to the fighters.  [This might make sense - but it kind of bugs us because we feel that the exhaust port really *should* be at the end of the trench.]
  • Increase everyone's movement.  [Maybe this makes sense because in the trench they are all really going fast ??]
All-in-all, it was fun - and beyond that - great to have one more way to blow up the Death Star.  We're going to try to mess around and make some new versions of these photos with special effect :)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

X-Wing -- Managed to Win a Battle With Two Phantoms

Hi everyone,

It's been a little while since we've played X-Wing -- and we had a chance to play against our friend Mr. M over at Game Kastle in Fremont this weekend.

Mr. M was using the Scum faction -- which we'd not ever played against.

We spent a while chatting with Mr. M about our upcoming 40K Campaign -- and our plan to play some GW Battlefleet Gothic [we'll be blogging about this soon....] we realized that X-Wing was going to be the game to play.  But, RATS, we hadn't brought along our X-Wing models.

So....  We went with the idea which we'd seen work so well when we played in our first (and only) tournament up at Gator Games.  (Here's a link to the blog posting where we describe our fun time being schooled by X-wing masters....)

1) We quickly bought two Phantoms and a TIE figher.  [We wanted another TIE fighter to use in our Death Star Trench anyway.  And, we had wanted to try out two Phantoms.

2) We set up Echo and Whisper with the Advanced Cloaking Device -- just like the guys at Gator Games has done.  (That thing is only 4 points, but allows for a crazy amount of movement flexibility!)

3) We also set up Howlrunner figuring that the Range 1 bonuses would be pretty nice with the TIE Phantoms.

4) We ended up needing to give them every add-on we had (to get to 100 points).

Here are the models from our list -- Whisper, Echo and Howlrunner

The Battle

Mr. M set up a force of a Z-95 Headhunter, a Y-Wing and a pair of Interceptors.  And, he came after us early in the battle.   We were a little bit worried that he would be able to cut-off Echo or Whisper and take out one of our Phantoms very early.

We had a little bit of luck though and got multiple fighters lined up to fire on the Headhunter and were able to take it out of the battle.

Mr. M's forces heading at us.  Worried that it was a good idea - but we split up our units in three directions early on....

And, a little while later in the meeting we were able to line up all three of our fighters on the Y-Wing.  This is what we had needed to really cause damage there.

We got really lucky and managed to have all three of our ships lined up against the Y-Wing...

At the end of the battle, Mr. M was down to one Interceptor -- and we had lost Echo.  But man-oh-man was it difficult to take down that Interceptor!!!  Howlrunner would try to shoot at the Interceptor -- would fail to cause damage -- and then Mr. M would have one extra evade to help for when Whisper fired on the Interceptor.  Turn after turn!

Finally, we lined up shoots and simply had Howlrunner pass on his shots -- and only had Whisper fire.  This worked - but worthy of note to see how challenging that Interceptor can be to deal with.

The very challenging chase of the Interceptor underway..

Here's a look at that challenging rule on the Interceptor card which Mr. M had at the end of the battle....

Check out that rule - if you miss, your next shot is even harder!

And, an acknowledgement for our opponent:  We have played quite a few battles -- have had some people helping us with how to build an Empire list.  And, have had some trial and lots of errors dealing with asteroids.  Mr. M on the other hand (pretty sure) has not played very many times - but dealt with the asteroids with no issue!  We still managed to fly into one despite our practice :)  Pretty sure this means that when we play Mr. M next time we are in for some trouble....

- Three Phantoms better than Two?

We also did some reading on where the TIE Phantom came from....  Didn't realize that there was so much drama around making cloaking devices using Stygium crystals -- or that the Rebels had stolen a TIE Phantom only to have the self-destruct blow it apart.  There is a pretty nice write-up on Wookiepedia -- Link here.) 

And, though we won our first battle, it was not without some errors on our side.  We weren't sure what to do when there was the potential of re-rolling misses (the help from Howlrunner and the help from a target lock).  Got it clear now that you only get to re-roll an individual die one time.  Pretty sure we got this wrong at least once in the battle -- so likely things were a little bit worse for Mr. M that they should have been.

Mr M mentioned that he is thinking of ways to modify his list -- not put quite so many points into his Y-Wing, for example.  Our plan is to play the same list so that we can have a clean rematch next time.

But, one thing we're wondering is whether 3 Phantoms (drop Howlrunner) would be an even better list than 2.  Fluff-wise this seems a little bit odd -- because it sounds like TIE Phantoms are supposed to be very rare.  But, it might be fun to try :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

40K Ork Train #2 -- Eldar + Switch Engine

Hi everyone,

We have had so much fun with the Ork's Dakka Chugga Lionel Steam (here's a link) locomotive conversion that we've started working on another one (and have plans for 2-3 more after that).

The one we're working on now will be another Ork conversion.  No names are official yet - searching for good ones.

The concept will be to add some Eldar pieces (plus other bits) to an old GE 44-Tonner diesel switch engine.  (Realize that judging railroad locomotives can be highly personal - but have always felt that this double-ended GE locomotive was a bit Orky looking anyway!)

Here's how far we've gotten so far.

1) Got a "donor" shell for the locomotive.  (We didn't want to mess up a good one.)

The working GE 44-Tonner along side the donor shell....
  2) Got some fun bits to add.  For very little money on eBay we found most of an Eldar Grav Tank which had been built-up with hot glue (it was a mess).  We yanked the hot glue off the model and have the pieces ready to use.

Hot glue all over these Eldar Grav Tank parts -- easy enough to pull off...

3) Going to attach the Grav Tank main part up-side-down onto the rear of the 44-Tonner.  Looks nicer than right-side up -- and fits very well.  Plus, the loading ramp from the Grav Tank can then be a hatch which opens for an Ork to come out firing....

The front view with the Grav Tank on the top...

4) Going to put an Ork into the gunner cockpit with some weapons (need more dakka).

It'll be a squeeze to get an Ork in there, but we think we can do it...

5) Lastly, going to embed the original gunner (in his chair) into the front grill of the locomotive -- sort of like the figure-head on a ship....

Going to embed this guy into the front grill...

Questions we need to resolve....

- What do we call this thing?  (Nominations so far:  "the El-diesel" or "the Grav Tanker")  Welcome additional ideas :)

- What kinds of weapons should we add?  The Eldar weapons aren't enough!!!

Then, our next projects....

- Going to work on some Space Marine locomotives
- Going to work on some Ork freight cars (one with a very large gun)
- Going to start working on a full train layout

Next on the docket -- a Space Marine locomotive!

Will write more about this as we go :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Building a new gaming table...

Hi everyone,

We are thinking about building a new gaming table.  There main push for doing this is the growing pile of codex and rule books which is growing around the living room table - starting to make it a bit difficult to find anything.

Battle gaming one; gaming table; need for storage; rpg games and storage; warhammer and storage
 The growing pile under the living room coffee table.....

We had seen photos of the gaming tables - and have been especially inpired by the one Cassius Karl created.  (Here is a link to photos of his table.)  Looks like his is created with 4 book case units -- two sets on each end.  Very slick - totally impressed by the way this allows him to neatly file his gaming books and supplies.

Here are our thoughts goal-wise....

1) Should be 4' x 6' (so that we can play Warhammer 40K)

2) Should include storage (so that we can keep our Codex and Rule books handy)

3) Should be in a room where we can have overhead lighting -- and also should be planned ahead to try out the very cool overhead projector map projection scheme (Here's a link to an article which has inspired us.)

4) Would like to make it a bit taller than a typical table - more like kitchen-counter or bar height.

5) Then, would like to be able to push stools under the overhang of the table

6) We'd like the table top to be the kind of stuff which we're not likely to stain with paints or pen if we have accidents

So, we set out to see what we could figure out today.  We learned some interesting things.

1) Ordering a custom formica 4' x 6' table top is expensive!!!

2) Ordering kitchen grade (even the lowest grade) cabinets which are 36" high (kitchen counter top height) are also expensive!!!

So, we have a new set of thoughts....

- We're going to use a couple of layers of plywood - and place formica on it ourselves.  (Believe that's a terrible "you only get on try with the glue" type of procedure.  But, thinking that if we can build little models made out of resin and metal, we ought to be able to figure out formica.)

- And, we'll use book cases the way Cassius Karl did.  Looking like we'll use 4 of them as well -- but we're going to try to place these in a center pedestal which is 4' long and 2' wide -- so that the table top of 6' long and 4' wide overhangs by 1' all the way around.

battle gaming one; gaming table; rpg table; warhammer table; gaming table with storage; gaming table with shelves
 Our gaming table concept...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to plan for an Apocalypse battle? Warhammer 40K

Hi everyone,

We're planning to play an Apocalypse battle with our friends from the escalation league on April 26th!  We are really looking forward to it because we are excited to get to use lots of our models at the same time.  (We are interested to see what our friends might bring - but this is also a little bit scary because we realize they are probably thinking just like us -- how to put together a huge army list.)

We do realize that we've got some questions to figure out in advance....

1) Is there a single rule-book which helps with most Apocalyptic battles?  We aren't too sure about that.  We've seen the Forge World books -- and we wonder about those.

2) We are trying to figure out how to use both the Space Marines and the Orks.  One idea is to have two different lists -- and play both independently.  We'll need to see if that works with our friends.  We guess the other way would be to have them fight together -- and then we need to worry about them fighting each other because they are not very good battle brothers....

3) What do people find works well in an Apocalypse battle?  Go Large?  Or Lots and Lots of Troops?  We have some larger models ready to go (or at least close)....

Our Stompa is assembled - though we do need to paint it and add a few final touches....  (We are also thinking about how cool a Lifta-Droppa might be.  In case you have never read it, there is a great story called Engine of Mork about a Stompa which has one!)

Battle Gaming One, Da Breath of Mork, Stompa, Warhammer 40K
Our Stompa, "Da Breath of Mork"

We have the Aquila Strongpoint ready to go....  We also have a Bastion (here you can see our assembly process)....  [Link to our prior experience with the Aquila Strongpoint]

Aquilius Strongpoint, Apocalypse Battle, Battle Gaming One
Here is our Strongpoint....

Bastion, Warhammer 40K, Battle Gaming One
Here is the base of our Bastion....

We are also thinking of building a gantry for our Grot Rokkit -- and using the Ork Pulsa Rokkit rules (our friends seem to be up for helping us to come up with a 7th edition version of the rules....)  [Link to our write-up about the Grot Rokkit launch!]

Grot Rokkit, Ork Pulsa Rokkit, Battle Gaming One
Here is our Grot Rokkit!

We do have quite a few Space Marine troops - though we probably need to finish up a few units to have complete squads.  And, we are pretty close to having enough Ork Boyz for a Green Tide....  [The Pink Orks' following has expanded.  Here's our story about the original Pink Ork Boyz....]

Pink Orks, Green Tide, Battle Gaming One
Here are some of our Ork Boyz - we have more Boyz (some Yellow, some not even Pink or Yellow who will join the call of Waaagh!!!)

And, we have the Dakka Chugga (converted Steam Locomotive) which we have run against Matt as a looted wagon....  [Here's a link to our write-up about the Dakka Chugga build....]

Ork Steam Train, Apocalypse Battle, Pink Orks, Battle Gaming One
Here is our Dakka Chugga....  Not sure we can have more train cars ready in time - but we'll try....

4) Wondering just how it works to use multiple Lords of War.  We've heard of people doing it - and we're excited to use the Stompa and Ghazghkull at the same time!!  (We're also excited to be able to use our Warbosses at the same time as these....  We usually run out of points!)

5) Wondering how many formations people tend to use at the same time - or just one really, really big formation with more units added to each squad ??

6) Are there good strategies to remember things?  Maybe apps people use?  A little bit worried about forgetting to shoot or forgetting to move, etc....