Sunday, August 30, 2015

Having fun with D&D and 40K

Hi everyone,

Had some fun setting up and taking these photos yesterday....

D&D and 40K; battle gaming one

D&D and 40K; battle gaming one

40K and D&D; Orks and D&D; 40K Orks and D&D; Battle Gaming One

What is cool about the Pathfinder Society

Hi everyone,

We have started playing a little bit of Pathfinder.  But, not just playing in our small group.  Nope, instead playing with the "Pathfinder Society" at Game Kastle in Santa Clara.

The sessions are scheduled using the Warhorn website.  It was really easy to set up and account and then sign up for a Pathfinder Level 1 (through Level 5) session.

Cleric/Bard; Battle Gaming One; Pathfinder vs D&D
We decided we'd play a Half-Elf Cleric/Bard.  Decided to name him Perry.  Fights with a rapier.  Started working on a miniature for our next session :)

Well -- the whole world (except us) probably already knows what is cool about the Pathfinder Society (and, we're just the last ones to figure it out)....  But, regardless, here's a quick take on what we're liking about it :)

High level explanation?  Well, the main rules (Pathfinder) are like the Programming Language.  Rules about syntax, what can be done, what can't, etc....  Then, you have the Operating System (the Pathfinder Society)....  How gaming sessions are managed, how experience works, how items are divided up....  It's very much like the OS on a computer which is managing files, data and access....  It is so cool to have both!!

Priming with white paint; battle gaming one; playing pathfinder for the first time
Got Perry primed.  This is our first real attempt with white primer.  Working on 40K have been using black primer.  Let's see how this works out!!

1) The "Society" is cleverly set-up so that a group of people can "campaign" together in small one-session (one evening) stints.  [In Warhammer 40K we just spent several weekends in a row trying to find a time when the four of us who like to play together could get together for one large battle.  Very hard to manage schedules when everyone is busy!!]

2) There is a very nice structure around how much experience or treasure a group of adventurers should receive from each adventure session.

3) The classic argument over the +2 Longsword ("It's mine!"  "No, I found it!"  "Yes, but my character would make better use of it!") is settled.  Maybe a bit contrived -- but everyone can have it because the notion of party-treasure-sharing is boiled down to each character worrying about their own advancement.

4) Pathfinder vs. D&D rules?  Yep, there are differences -- and, we can see that many people have strong opinions.  We could live with either one -- for us, the fun is in the playing.  And, if it's the Pathfinder Society which has figured out a way to get together easily - then those rules work for us!!

Cleric and Bard together; Pathfinder Bard; Battle Gaming One; Game Kastle
Not too bad using the white primer after all.  Thinning down the colors so that we don't lose detail.  Finding that Perry looks OK with the white primer.  Using our 40K painting tricks as best we can!

5) If you can't make it one night - big deal.  Just show up at the next one when you can.  And, doesn't seem like it even matters too much if you play your character at or with different groups the way things are structured.

Well, we get to play again tomorrow night.  Very much looking forward to it!

Battle Gaming One; Pathfinder Miniature
 Here's Perry, ready for action tomorrow night.  Fingers are crossed that we don't kill him off.  If we can nurse him through two more sessions as a lowly first level Cleric he'll gain that crucial second level -- and will add a level of Bard.

The Quest for the Juggernaut (FFG Star Wars Edge of the Empire Campaign Session)

Quest for the Juggernaut Introduction

Our Edge of the Empire team -- from the FFG EofE starter set

Our Edge of the Empire band had been doing quite well.  They fought their way off of Tatooine, and successfully stole a Gozanti armed transport from an Imperial base on Ryloth.

But, they realized that something was missing.  They did *not* have a recreatational vehicle!  What to do?  Well, there was only one option -- and "Quest for the Juggernaut" began.

The Cantina

The team made a quick rendezvous in orbit around Ryloth.  Pash the Smuggler/Pilot flying the Gozanti (engines repaired after some trouble from the Imperial base incident) and Oskara the Bounty Hunter at the stick of the not-so-trusty YT-1300, Krayt Fang.

"But where can we find a Juggernaut?" the team pondered.  Well, the best place to look for anything, of course....  In a cantina on Tatooine.

Juggernaut, Star Wars Juggernaut, FFG Edge of the Empire, Edge of the Empire Campaign, Battle Gaming One
The Quest for the Juggernaut had begun!

Pash and Oskara completed their hyperspace calculations (for the two ships) and a quick jump later, they were orbiting Tatooine.

The team was wanted in Mos Shuuta -- so best not to land there.  So, Mos Eisley it was -- a nice large space port. 

Then, the team huddled to discuss where to best find information in Mos Eisley.  This got to be a little bit long-winded and boring for 41-VEX, the somewhat crazy medical droid.  And, so, off he went....

....And into the nearest cantina.  [Of course, the cantina from movie IV, and playing this music  Link to a 10 hour youtube of cantina music :)]

"We don't serve your kind here" the bartender told VEX.  But, as luck would have it, the cantina's bouncer was suffering from acute back pain.  VEX was able to deliver treatment (after all he was a medical droid) and relieve the suffering human - and gaining the favor of cantina staff.

Scanning the cantina, VEX (who is not known for his perceptiveness) spotted a Jawa crouching the corner and approached to see if the Jawa could be a source information.

The team had assembled a list of items they were hoping to procure on Tatooine.  Of course, the Juggernaut was at the top of the list.  But, other exciting things like lightsabers and jetpacks were on their minds as well.

"Do you know where we can find weapons (whispering) the illegal kind??" VEX inquired.

Well, turns out that unlike some protocol droids, VEX was unable to speak Jawa.  (Not sure if he speaks Bocce either.)  So, back to the ship, where VEX worked with Pash, Oskawa and Wookiee strongman Lowhhrick to build a crude Jawa translator.

Now the whole team sat with the Jawa and rattled off their questions.  Yes, the Jawa did know where to find illegal weapons.  The group should visit Bushaka's scrap yard - he has many interesting things in the back room.  Yes, the Jawa had heard of Juggernaut vehicles.  No, he didn't think Kuat was the best place to look for one.  He suggested Belderone -- another outer rim planet where Kuat Drive Yards produces AT-ATs.  Did the Jawa know where to sell a nice YT-1300?  No, he didn't know anyone who would be interested -- but the bartender knew of a local Transoshan who was looking for a ship.

The conversation with the Jawa had gone so well, before the team could stop him, Lowhhrick had asked if the Jawa knew how to make contact with the Rebels who might be working on Tatooine.  Luckily Pash saw the quick movement the Jawa made to his pocket -- slipping his had inside and likely keying some type of communicator.

"It's time to go, everyone!" Pash shouted -- and out they went into the street.

Remember movie IV?  Hide in the building next-door - right?  And, that's what they did!  VEX hacked the door lock, and the four adventurers jumped in, closing the door just in time.

Noise through the doorway, Jawa voice muffled....  Stormtrooper voice "OK.  Which way did they go?"  "Right.  You two - pursue in that direction.  You, come with me, we'll cover the other street."

After it was quiet for a while, Oskara peeked outside.  The street nearby was clear, but she could see Imperials working their way farther down the street.  Time to make a run for it!

Selling the Krayt Fang

Turns out that the Lowhhrick doesn't like Trandoshans.  But, he was able to keep his feelings in check while the team negotiated to sell the Krayt Fang.  Also a bit lucky that the Mos Eisley Trandoshans hadn't yet learned that the team had acquired this particular YT-1300 from a Mos Shuuta Trandoshan named Trex.

The sale went well, with the team pocketing 120,000 credits -- an amazing price considering the shape the Krayt Fang was in.

Bushaka's Shop

Later the group arrived at Bushaka's Scrap Shop.  The team was worried when Lowhhrick asked right away if Bushaka had a lightsaber for sale.  But, not to worry Bushaka wanted credits -- not Imperial entanglements.  And, yes, he did have one -- in that back room.

But, did it work?  Not as far as Lowhhrick could tell.  Push the button.  No cool light coming out.  Bummer, but still worth something.  VEX talked Bushaka down given the condition of the light saber.

Other items were more straightforard.  No, he did not have a jetpack :(  But, he did have a heavy blaster rifle.  He also had a set of laminate armor which wasn't complete.  But, using some of the pieces of clonetrooper armor Pash had dug out of the Gutkurr nest on Ryloth (yes, he dug it out of the poop pile -- and then washed it carefully) it looked as though there would be a full working armor set.

Yes on brass knuckles for Lowhhrick, a vacuum seal unit and an optical camouflage attachment for Pash's armor.  Also yes on some items for the heavy blaster rifle -- a weapon sling, an under barrel flame projector and a multioptic sight, and a bipod mount.  But, Bushaka did not have anything like an augmented spin barrel or a blaster actuating module.

Lowhhrick was able to find a bowcaster which hadn't been serviced in a very long time.  He also bought some cans of spray paint.  And, VEX found what looked like a working bacta tank in a back corner.  And, one last thought, Pash bought some thermal detonators which Bushaka admitted he wasn't too sure about.

The Flight to the Factory

VEX was busy during the flight to Belderone!  First he did his best to fix the eager Wookiee's lightsaber.  So far so good on the disassembly.  And, so far so good on understanding the basic parts.  But, once taken apart, VEX spotted the trouble.  A crack had cleaved the power crystal in half.  Trying to put the two pieces back in place properly and pushing the actuation button, VEX created a good amount of smoke before quickly turning the saber off again.

Then, at the suggestion of Lowhhrick and Pash he tried powering the lightsaber with only one good half of the crystal.  Success!  The blade illuminated a bright green (Lowhhrick's favorite color) - though with the diminished crystal the blade was only one inch long.  "My light stub," exclaimed Lowhhrick with a loud, happy Wookiee warble.

VEX had good luck with the other attachments, though mounting the camo unit onto Pash's armor stumped him -- and he took a break to work on ship maintenance.

Pash took his turn working on how to mount the optical camouflage unit to his armor.  He turned connectors this way, that way, and finally was able to get the unit to power on with proper function.  With that done, Pash was wiped out and headed to his bunk for a nap to recover from the concentration-induced headache.

While Pash had been busy with his armor, Lowhhrick had been busy in his bunk area.  He was spray painting!  Rebel symbols and figures of Wookiee's in battle.  (He was also very excited to paint the Juggernaut if they should find one!)

And so, it was with Oskara at the control that the Gozanti Cruiser snapped out of hyperspace in orbit around Belderone.

"Imperial Gozanti Cruiser, please explain your intentions.  We were not told to expect any in-bound Imperial ships today." the spaceport controller came loud and clear over the communication link on the Gozanti bridge.

Oskara paused for moment, then gave explanation.  "Yes, we have been sent tracking a group of Rebels reported to be taking refuge in your system.  Request permission to land and conduct searches."

"Permission granted cruiser 6-113.  Land on pad 173."

What They Found

With Pash awake from his nap, the four discussed their options.  It seemed that only Pash would appear as normal stepping out of an Imperial marked Gozanti Cruiser.  Luckily Pash had kept the two officer uniforms they had liberated from the prior crew of the cruiser.  And, he intended to use these to create a solid disguise.

Pash exited and across the avenue from the space port found a cantina where he was able to bring the conversation around to Kuat Drive Yards factory.  He asked the locals how to get there, and was given directions and the explanation that a grav-train ride would be needed.

Shortly after, Pash approached a large hulking building -- clearly marked with the Kuat Drive Yards logo.

"But, where are the Juggernauts?" wondered Pash.  He didn't see anything around the front of the large building.  So, he walked to the rear of the building.  And, behind a section where finished products seemed to be staged for outbound transport he spotted a fenced off area.

Peering through gaps in the fence, he saw what he was hoping to see.  What appeared to be early prototypes of AT-ATs and other walker vehicles.  This must be where scrapped vehicles where kept.

He vaulted the fence and searched.  What luck!  He saw five Juggernauts in various states of repair.

Things were still quiet, so he took the time to inspect the five.  Four of the five had outer hull damage of some kind.  The one which was clear on the exterior was missing its power plant and weapons.  He ruled that one out.  Then, inspecting the others, he found that two of them had what looked like workable propulsion systems.  And, of these, one still had weapons intact.

Pash climbed inside and clicked his comm-link, telling the team back at the ship what he had found.  It was clearly going to be tricky to end up with a working Juggernaut from these hulks!

"Is there a manual inside that Juggernaut?" asked VEX.  Well, yes, there was, but nearly all of the pages were missing.  Not giving up, Pash then searched the other four Juggernauts, carrying with him what documentation he could find.  And, in the end, Pash successfully pieced together a full manual.

"Time to get over here and study this manual, VEX!  We've got work to do."

Fixing the Juggernaut

With VEX on hand, the team was able to take parts from the other decent Juggernaut power plant and make the plant on the one with good weapons as good as new.  The internal systems hummed when VEX put them to the test.

But, where to find wheels?  None of the Juggernauts had wheels installed.  It was as if these had been scavenged to keep other vehicles running -- maybe newer versions.

Oskara proposed to search the factory building.  With VEX and Lowhhrick accompanying, they attemped to disarm the alarm and open the door at the rear of the building.  No luck for VEX.  He was unable to make a connection with the building's computer system.

Luckily, Lowhhrick was able to use his "light stump" to cut around the lock mechanism -- and Oskara pushed the door open.  But, her efforts to move stealthily inside were unsuccessfully.  The alarm triggered.

Quickly Lowhhrick pounced into the room and reaching high overhead tore the alarm speaker away from the wall restoring silence.

The three of them scanned the room -- no wheels.  This appeared to be a shipping room.  Various walkers and walker parts were arranged about the room with crates and packaging materials nearby.

"Let's try the next room," said Oskara, moving to a door on the opposite side.  VEX tried the computer interface once more and this time had success.  "I've got a map!" he exclaimed.  "And, look!" showing Oskara on the small screen that the map indicated a Kuat Drive Yards museum toward the front of the building.  "Maybe something in that room has wheels?"

Getting to the museum room would mean slogging through another five rooms coming from the rear of the building.  So, Oskara, Lowhhrick and VEX hurried to the front of the factory.  VEX attempted the lock once again.  He was successful, but also again had trouble with the alarm.  Lowhhrick ripped this alarm panel down as well.

That brought them to the main lobby.  A door to the right was marked "MUSEUM".  Lowhhrick growled! (Wookiee translation, "Never mind the lock, I'll open the door!").  And, seconds later they were in.

"Wow!" VEX exclaimed.  The team gazed upon a large display of walkers, positioned about the vaulted room in battle-ready poses.  Toward the center and rear of the room, sure enough, what they were looking for!  A Juggernaut!

It was pristine on the outside -- and, most importantly, it had all ten wheels.  Thoughts of driving it out through the lobby were dashed quickly.  The main power plant had been scavenged.  With that clear, the team took to the task of removing the three meter high wheels.

It took ten trips -- with Oskara and VEX sometimes able to roll a wheel of their own -- and only Lowhhrick truly able to manage a wheel by himself.  But eventually they had the wheels back in the junk area.  VEX supervised the installation process (having that manual really helped since the Juggernaut's suspension allowed for an automated wheel change).  And, then, with the main chores completed the team took a few seconds to relax.

It was at that time that VEX, hearing a very distinctive noise blanched (if droids can do that) and shuddered, having completely lost his cool.  Pash calmed him -- and with that help, VEX forced out "AT-ATs coming.  I can hear the stomping!"

The fight at the end

"Everyone stay quiet!" Pash urged.  "Let's stay in the Juggernaut.  Nobody will spot us in here."

And, so, they did.  But, while inside, Lowhhrick took the time to familiarize himself with the blaster turret's controls in case it came down to a fight.

Watching out the front of the vehicle, they watched as an AT-AT thundered down the main road and stopped in front of the Kuat factory.  Shortly afterward, a group of humans came into view, walking the perimeter of the building.  The humans stopped, and huddled in discussion, studying the opened rear doorway.

"We need a diversion," Oskara commented.  And, with that, she and VEX both attempted to sneak to the right-hand side of the group.  "It's no good," Oskara whispered into her comm-link.  "They'll spot me.  Aborting."

With that, Pash jumped from the Juggernaut and making his way quietly to the left of the group approached the parked AT-AT.  All was quiet, so he climbed upward.

With a regrettable grunt Pash heaved himself inside the cabin of the AT-AT.  A developing quick-draw artist, Pash had his blaster pistol out and ready as he tumbled inside.  But, the noise he had made alerted the waiting pilot.  The two closed on each other!

Pash struck first with a direct blaster pistol shot.  The pilot hadn't grabbed his weapon and swing a wild fist at Pash, missing as Pash ducked.  Pash struck back with his own left hand.  He connected solidly, sending the man sprawling.

During this time, VEX had joined Pash in the AT-AT, using a cable winch to haul himself inside.
The two of them tied up the pilot.  And, with that completed, Pash took to the driver's seat.

Pash worked the controls and turned the AT-AT's head toward the factory.  And, then, keying the firing buttons fired on the building!

Pash turned the head of the AT-AT at the factory building and fired!

The Ending!

"Waaarrrrgh!" yelled Lowhhrick, triggering the main guns of the Juggernaut as soon as he saw the AT-AT open fire.  The cluster of people at the rear of the Kuat building dove for cover as the Wookiee's fire swung back and forth.

And, while this was going on, Pash quickly set a detonator inside the AT-AT.  Then, with the pilot slung over his shoulder he lowered himself to the ground.  VEX quickly followed as the seconds ticked off.

Spotting a speeder bike near the front of the building (must have arrived at the same time as the AT-AT), Pash sprinted to it, jumped aboard and "zow!" was off toward the spaceport.  "I'll get the ship ready," he hollered on the comm channel.

While Lowhhrick held the factory people at bay with his heavy fire, Oskara had worked the Juggernaut out of the scrap yard -- driving right over the fence in the process.  VEX climbed aboard.  And, Oskara took the huge vehicle out onto the main highway -- driving for the spaceport at a quick, but not overly hurried pace.

Fifteen minutes later, Oskara swing the Juggernaut into the spaceport drive and quickly made her way to landing pad 173.  Pash had lowered the cruiser's landing ramp.  And, thankful for the Imperial modifications which made for a very large internal hold, Oskara urged the Juggernaut up and inside of the ship.

Pash took charge of securing their massive payload.  And, with that all set, quickly made for the cockpit.  And, seconds layer, they were blasting their way into space, their quest completed!

"Can I spray paint a big Rebel symbol on the Juggernaut?" Lowhhrick asked?  "No!!!" everyone chimed in!

From our copy of Star Wars Complete Cross Sections - a very handy look at the Juggernaut.


As the team reached orbit, they realized that for an extremely good camping trip, the Juggernaut would probably not be sufficient.  They would need some personal-sized ATVs as well!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

LED Objective Markers in 40K -- One Way to Avoid Forgetting

Hi everyone,

LED Objective Marker, LED base, lit objective, LED miniatures, powered play gaming, battle gaming one
 Our favorite Space Marine and Ork with one of our LED Objective Markers!

We have written about forgetting things before.  One of the biggest things we tend to forget is using Grot or Mek abilities which can recover hull points -- or special rules like Ramshackle on our Ork Trukks.  We received lots of great suggestions and help on how to remember those things -- and the suggestions have helped :)  (Thanks!)  [Here's the link to our post from League week #3 -- the worst of forgetting things.]

Another problem we've faced though is forgetting to pay attention to objective markers!  Many times we find ourselves after Turn 2 or Turn 3 and realize that we've set ourselves up in a fabulous Ork Waaagh! type charge -- but have completely missed on a plan to end up holding objectives so that we can win the game.

In the last two battles, though, we have toted our LED lit objective markers over to Game Kastle in Fremont to play Mr. M's Space Marines.  And, you know what -- it has made a huge difference.

[Here's a link to our earlier post from the day our package arrived from Powered Play.  Has good photos of how things go together.]

In the first of the two battles there was only one objective, and we held the objective pretty well at the end (we ran out of time in the battle). -- and we'd humbly offer that we may have actually maneuvered a little bit better than Mr. M by paying really close attention to the objective marker which was sitting there glowing at us the whole time.  

[Warning - this was a Space Marines vs. Space Marines battle -- part of the campaign Mr. M has been running.  Lots of fun - but lots of blue models fighting blue models in this battle.]

The battle set-up.  Here you can see Mr. M setting up his tanks to fire on us as we approach the objective (which is glowing away in the bottom of the photo)!

Apologies for the blurry photo -- but it all happened quickly.  Our gunship came zooming out of reserves and dropped our Ironclad Dreadnought, Assault Terminator Squad and Inquisitor right on the objective!

And, there we were at the end.  Mr. M threw lots of troops at us -- but pretty darned hard to shake us off the objective when all of his assault troops were over on the other side of the board -- several turns away.

In in the second battle, we didn't do quite as well -- but we still managed to hold two out of four objectives at the end -- and if our Stompa hadn't died giving Mr. M lots of victory points, we would have been close in the running to have won.

The battlefield showing the four objective markers.  Marker #1 is flopped over (our Stompa stepped on it so that Mr. M couldn't get to it).

Looted Wagon, modified train, 40K train, ork steam train, ork choo choo, battle gaming one
Our Looted Wagon, "The Dakka Chugga" steams past Mr. M's drop pod headed for Objective #2.

We had objective #2 pretty well locked up with a mob of Boyz and 4 Killikans.  That lone Space Marine didn't hold out very long!!

On the other side of the battlefield, our Trukk didn't last very long against Mr. M's Land Raider.  So, we didn't end up holding objective #4.  But, we didn't forget about it :)

Our LED lit objective markers were a thank-you item from  Powered Play Gaming the LED-base Kickstarter project they just completed.  We haven't built-up any LED-base operated miniatures yet -- though we do have a few Orky ideas.  Pretty happy with the objective markers regardless :)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Battletech - learning from the experts....

Hi everyone,

While we were playing 40K last weekend we had a chance to watch the group who plays Battletech at the Fremont Game Kastle on Saturday nights.

 Watching the experts play -- here's a zoom-in of the battle mat they were using

It was really exciting to see what the experts had set up.

Battle Mat!

They had a HUGE battle mat.  Wondering if it was even larger than 4' x 6'.  Worked well on the tables where we have played Warhammer 40K.

Here you can see the massive size of their battle mat!

Pretty sure we understood that they get these huge mats from MapMaster.  (Here's a link)  What's very cool about these battle mats is that they are all set-up for Battletech.  They have the altitudes and tree densities and things like that marked on the hexes.  But, they are printed over very nice and detailed maps.

Dice for Movement.

A long while back we had worked on how to keep track of which movements our mechs had made.  We came up with writing on our mech's sheets with dry-erase markers.

[Here's a link to that older posting.]

Several people who read our write-up suggested that using dice was a very good way to do it.  And, sure enough that's what the experts were doing.

Other maps and mats....

Then, just happened to see this display at our favorite game store in Delaware.

A (new?) Magik board game has very cool puzzle-piece sheets of map which can be interlocked in different ways to form a hex map.  This looked like it might be very cool for making different maps for Battletech.

Also they had a set-up of some raised plastic tiles which we learned came from HeroScape.  Sounds like it would be pretty expensive to have a whole table of them -- but would be pretty neat!!

 Here is the set-up from the store in Delaware -- you can see the "raised" HeroScapes hexes positioned on top of the Magik puzzle piece hex sheets.