Monday, 24 July 2017

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Yesterday I was able to attend another Animosity Batman Miniature Game event at Holmfirth Gaming Centre. Again it was a themed campaign day rather than a straight tournament, and unsually there weren't as many people as at previous events (presumably due to the school holidays starting and folks being away).

The theme for the day was based around a story-line that appears in the Batman: Rebirth comics in which there is some sort of crossover between the DC universe and that of the Watchmen. Broadly, the Watchmen have appeared in Gotham and are searching for Dr Manhattan to take them home, and Batman was investigating their activities. Meanwhile, the League of Shadows was also trying to secure the power of Dr Manhattan, but also track down Harley Quinn, who had stolen a truckload of merchandise related to their plot in an attempt to use Dr Manhattan to bring the Joker back from whatever plane of hell he was banished to during the last event.

Into all this enters my Wonderland Gang...

Jervis Tetch, aka the Mad Hatter, was not bothered about securing cosmic power, he has his own agenda and obsessions to address, namely broadening his collection of hats and finding Alice.

My crew was as follows:

The Mad Hatter - Leader
White Rabbit - Free Agent
Killer Croc - Free Agent
Tweedledum - Henchman (Bulletproof Vest)
Tweedledee - Henchman (Bulletproof Vest)
Little Spark - Henchman (White Rabbit Mask, Cup of Special Tea)
Prisoner 02

My broad plan in most scenarios was to use Killer Croc, White Rabbit and Little Spark would use their speed (or the sewers) to get across the board to objectives whilst Hatter and the Tweedles (who are significantly slower) would use their formidable firepower to hold off and pin down the enemy. The Prisoner would do whatever seemed best at the time.

Game 1 - It's Going To Be A Long Night vs Harley Quinn (Rob)

Harley Quinn had taken her truckload of goods stolen from the League of Shadows to her hideout in China Town. However, the Mad Hatter had become convinced that Alice was in Harley's hideout, and the single goal of the game (after all my planning) was for the Mad Hatter to get to the doorway of the red building. Harley Quinn had to stop him. There was also the small issue of an added scenario rule involving a biker gang, who may, or may not be involved.

Rob's Harley Quinn Crew:

Harley Quinn, Arkham Knight - Leader
Mr Hammer - Sidekick
Killer Frost - Free Agent
Copperhead - Free Agent
Punker - Henchman
Bragg - Henchman
Harley Thug 04 - Henchman

Hatter leads the way cautiously.
Harley's crew head off to defend their territory.
Both crews edge up cautiously.
Meanwhile Harley gets curious.
Who are these clowns?
Harley and Hammer pick a fight with the bikers.
Things go really badly for Harley's gang.

Killer Frost temporarily switches sides.
Punker tries to goad Hatter away from the door.
Hatter makes it to his goal.
Things went badly for Rob on turn four, when Croc popped up and ate the Thug with the shotgun, Mr Hammer was beaten up by some bikers, Killer Frost was mind controlled into stopping Copperhead from attacking leaving both in the line of fire from the Tweedles. At the end of the game, Rob just didn't have enough people available to prevent Hatter reaching his goal, despite cunning use of the Goad trait on the previous turn, and ultimately, White Rabbit kicked Punker away from Hatter to win the game.

Unfortunately, 'Alice' turned out to be the truck driver, called Dave, who had long blond hair. Things never go right for Jervis Tetch.

Final Score: 15-1 to the Wonderland Gang.

Game 2 - Streetfight vs Batman (Matthew)

After driving Harley Quinn out of China Town the Mad Hatter spots a familiar silhouette outlined on the rooftops. The Bat was here, clearly responding to the disturbance. Even though he hadn't found Alice, he could at least add a new hat to his collection. Thus began: 'The Battle For The Cowl'.

Matt's Batman crew:

Batman (Batfleck) - Leader
Nightwing, Arkham Knight - Sidekick
Azrael - Free Agent
Robin, Damian Wayne - Free Agent

Hatter and the Tweedles advance.
Aerial view from the Bat-Copter.
Heroes swoop in on the Wonderland Gang.
Tweedle Dum is KO'd by wingdings (that's a thing in BMG).
Azrael tries to deal with Croc
Things get ugly up close and personal.
With corner deployments and facing such a fast and aggressive (but small) crew, I put my initial plan into action. Little Spark and White Rabbit set of at a run, but both had to change direction faced with fast approaching vigilantes, White Rabbit turned back and Little Spark took a longer route. Croc popped up and drew Azrael back to him to prevent him scoring, however, Croc got the better of their confrontation and Azrael sought out an easier target in Little Spark.

Meanwhile, Hatter and the Tweedles, with the help of White Rabbit, were on defensive duty, managing fire enough shots to take down Nightwing (but not before he'd clobbered Tweedledee), and Hatter mind controlled Robin into helping and then going away. Batman managed to turn on the bat-signal but couldn't turn round the result.

The final result was 21-6, but I owe Matthew an apology as I used the Fake Objective strategy on the Bat-Signal, but shouldn't have done as you can't affect it with strategies, and so he should have had a couple of extra victory points. As a special mission reward, I was given a Batman mask to wear.

Game 3 - Tonight Ends With Gotham's Fall vs the Watchmen (Chris)

In his continuing search, Jervis Tetch spots a PVC clad woman investigating a glowing blue apparition in Gotham Zoo and thinks it might be Alice. His gang captures the Silk Spectre and the unresponsive form of Dr Manhattan, but the Watchmen were about to bear down on them.  

Chris's Watchmen crew:

Ozymandias - Free Agent
Rorschach - Free Agent
Comedian - Free Agent
Night Owl - Free Agent
Silk Spectre II - Free Agent

Dr Manhattan is an objective marker Chris made using a miniature from Hasslefree Miniatures, and in this game would be used as a bat-signal.

The Wonderland Gang guard their 'prisoners'.
"Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair..."
The Watchmen get stuck in quickly.
Silk Spectre floors Spark after he clobbers Night Owl.
Croc pops up and gets high on Titan.
White Rabbit evades Comedian.
Hatter somehow survives numerous beatings.
The scenario didn't help Chris as he began without Silk Spectre, and this was compounded when Tweedledee and Hatter managed to kill Rorschach quickly. However, Night Owl released Silk Spectre and Ozymandias got across the board ridiculously quickly and the Watchmen began kicking the hell out of Hatter and the Tweedles.

However, the Watchmen didn't have enough bodies to cover all angles and so Killer Croc was unopposed sat on the Titan objective for five turns and White Rabbit grabbed some loot and headed for the Ammo. Comedian did his best to deny White Rabbit some points, but couldn't get to grips with the slippery bunny girl.

The final score was 29-19 to me, with 10 of those points coming from Croc, who was rapidly becoming my MVP for not doing much.

Game 3 - Streetfight vs the League of Shadows (Darren)

I'm not sure what the premise of this final game was, but basically, I was suddenly in a shipping yard facing ninjas. Fittingly, however, this was a game between the only two players who hadn't lost a game so far. Darren had won two and drawn one.

 Darren's League of Shadows crew:

Nyssa Al Ghul - Sidekick
Lady Shiva - Sidekick
Lotus - Henchman (Grapple Gun)
Ying - Henchman
Yang - Henchman
Seeker - Henchman (Night Vision Goggles, Extra Ammo)
League Agent 2 - Henchman
League Agent 3 - Henchman

With naughty ninjas about, caution is advised.
White Rabbit heads out to grab a riddle.
The gang set up a defensive perimeter.
Ninjas close in.
Ninjas make a mess of the Tweedles.
This game was a very cagey affair. I obviously didn't want to get too close to the Ninjas' katanas (when Little Spark did so, he was killed quickly), and Darren made good use of stealth and cover to stay clear of my firepower. Seeker and Nyssa failed to inflict much damage with their arrows, and ultimately it was left to Shiva and one of the League Agents to make it to their objectives. However, White Rabbit killed the Agent and Mad Hatter took control of Shiva's mind, sending her off in the wrong direction.

Ultimately, the game was decided by Killer Croc once again climbing out of a sewer onto an objective, and he was joined soon after by the Prisoner, who jumped onto the Titan. The final score was 25-7 to the Wonderland Gang.

If you've been paying attention, you'll have realised that I managed to win all four games fairly comfortably, and this meant that I ultimately won the event (which as well as the campaign, had a loose tournament structure). I realise that I had a degree of scenario help, but I felt that I used combination of strong defence (in the form of three powerful guns and mind control), and the ability to get across the board quickly really well. Killer Croc especially works well with the Wonderland Gang as with the Wierd Crew strategy, even if somebody does devote the effort to killing him, it will only get them 2 victory points as he counts as a henchman, and trying to contest the objective he is on simply gives him someone to kill.

My result netted me an armful of prizes, including a Lexcorp crew box, Professor Zoom and some other assorted goodies...I got to keep the mask.

This picture definitely says 'Winner!'

Another really good day, which turned out to be surprisingly successful.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Rise of the Machines

When I was at Salute in April, Warlord Games decided to make the starter box for their Terminator: Genysis game available for the princely sum of £10. Given that this contained rules, dice, counters, mat, and no fewer than 31 miniatures, one look at the title of this blog will inform you as to how I reacted.

Seeing as I had some unexpected time on my hands on Tuesday, I broke out the spray paint to get me some Terminators painted.

The pictures are a little dark (it's too sunny), but I'm really quite pleased with how they've come out, especially given that these are officially the easiest models I've ever painted. Spray. Wash. Eyes. Base. Done.

They are even easier that other models that I've done a spray/wash on before, and they are made of silver plastic, and so it really didn't matter if I'd slightly missed a bit. If I have any sort of gripe, it's the fact that they are fairly small compared to many ranges, however, they do look like they might actually fit inside a body unlike many skeletal figures on the market (GW, I'm looking at you). They do scale well with the Wargames Factory plastic that I have, so there is potential there for expanding at least my Resistance models, or adding a T-1000 (I just wish I hadn't given away the Police torsos from the set.

The Endoskeletons are nicely detailed models which have torsos that come separate from the legs and can be pivoted around the spine (a nice change from separate heads for a more robotic look), as well as separate arms which can be positioned at different heights to give a modicum of variety - certainly enough for mass-produced death machines.

The Crawlers are single piece castings, but as they are only brought in when an Endoskeleton is destroyed, they'll never be fielded as units, so it's no worry.

The game itself is fun (I've only played two small scenarios so far) and Matt (and Mike, or is it Wes?) had already bought in so there are games to be had. I can also see them being recruited for games of 7TV, especially as Kraang Droids to fight the Turtles.

Not sure when I'll get round to the Resistance, as by default I can see them being more fiddly to do. I do have a few ideas to make them a bit more varied and interesting, so maybe I'll get to them soon.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

7TV Day: The Russian Job

Yesterday saw me attending the Wargames Illustrated 7TV Day for a movie sequel entitled 'The Russian Job'. This was an extremely relaxed campaign day largely devoid of the usual focused tournament lists, and mainly concentrating on having a bit of a laugh.  The day was broken into three 'shooting blocks' putting together a larger narrative.

The initial brief saw my cast of Professor von Schteppbyonde and the staff of Project Meteor heading to Soviet Russia, along with several teams from a loose organisation called the 'Disruptors', to investigate something being referred to as the 'Mesti Incident', which potentially involved an extra-terrestrial item of great and terrible power...which was right up the Professor's street. Opposing were a network of notorious do-gooders referred to as the 'Valhalla Project'.

Scenario 1 - The Defective Defector

Yuri Blankenhof, rumoured to be the only survivor of the 'Mesti Incident', had sent a message - he wished to defect. In addition to his knowledge of Soviet science, he was offering information regarding what happened in the 'Mesti Incident'.

Keen to learn what he could, and then use it for his own nefarious ends, the staff of Project Meteor set out to locate Blankenhof, aid in his defection and learn what he knows. However, stood in their way were not only the KGB, but also non other than Hugo Solomon and a team from Department X.


I was playing against Cameron using one of Crooked Dice's house casts, Department X:
  • Team Leader - Hugo Solomon (Star), Secret Agent. Think James Bond, Jason King and Austin Powers rolled into one.
  • X-Commando Strike Team - Captain Franklin (Co-Star) and 3 X-Commandos (Extras)
  • Psychic Support - 2 Fox Agents (Extras)

The Spawn fail to locate Blankenhof.
The Worm and the Herpetologist begin their search.
Department X move up in formation.
The Worm erupts. Taking out most of the Strike Team.
Solomon leg sweeps Dr Kurtz just as the KGB arrive.
This turned out to be the shortest game of 7TV I've ever played. The scenario required us to roll a d10 when we interrogated civillians; on a 10 it would turn out to be Blankenhof, on a 1 it would be a KGB agent. When 3 KGB agents had shown up (which happened by the end of my second turn), we had to skip straight to the Finale cards in the Countdown Deck. Cameron then proceeded to draw cards which required him to draw more cards, thus ending the game.

However, this didn't mean that it was a dull game. In those two turns, the Death Worm popped up in the middle of Department X and took down all of the X-Commandos. One of the Foxes defected to my side. Captain Franklin blasted everywhere with his plasma rifle. The Spawn repeatedly failed to form words and so were unable interrogate civilians. Hugo Solomon was able to use his Tibetan Aikido to take down Dr Kurtz, technically winning the game, although the agent also had to flee when the KGB arrived.

We worked out that Blankenhof was caught in an explosion which seemed to emanate from some of the Professor's equipment...oops! However, the Professor was able to gather some notes from his body, whilst Sylvia Smother and Bob the Janitor helped the stunned Herpetologist to escape the clutches of the KGB.

Scenario 2 - Pieces of Hate

The death of Blankenhof was unfortunate, but at least the parts of the artefact involved in the 'Mesti Incident' were identified as being in packing cases located in several warehouses situated around the city of Rastava.

Project Meteor set of to one of these locations, with the aim of securing one of these crates and leaving the city before the Valhalla Project could get there. However, stood against the Professor this time was a mysterious individual known only as 'The Doctor' and his retinue of companions.

In this game I played against Mike's War Doctor and retinue (I don't know much about the War Doctor, so I'm working off the information I managed to glean from Mike in conversation):
  • The War Doctor (Unearthly Traveller/Star)
  • Squire (Action Hero/Star)
  • Luther (Police Sergeant/Extra)
  • 2 Gribblies (Ninja/Extras)
Both sides were also given a mini (emblazoned with a Union Jack to help them blend in) to help move the artefact.

The Doctor wins the race to crate.
The crate is dropped as Minis collide.
With his companions down, the Doctor stands alone.
This game also looked set to be over quickly as Mike's cast got to the crate on the first turn, and looked set to drive it off the board on the second. However, driving too fast saw it fall from the roofrackless Mini, and then my scientific wonders were able to gang up on the dispersed time travellers.

The Worm and Dr Kurtz double teamed Squire, whilst the Sylvia led the Spawn into the Gribblies and the Professor lasered Luthor in the back. Bob took some shuriken to the face, but since his accident, these kinds of things have not kept him down for long. The Doctor was ultimately surrounded and overwhelmed, allowing Project Meteor to deliver the crate into the grasping arms of the Disruptors.

Several other agents of the Disruptors had also been successful and, when presented with an alien device of potential devastation, a gang of villainous masterminds were obviously going to put the thing together to see what it did...

Scenario 3 - Self-Preservation Society

The Mesti Device was activated and, seemingly searching for more energy, began to devour the city of Rastava. Although there was apparently a force field surrounding the city, there was a gap, a small gap, which might allow a single vehicle, or group, to leave.

Somehow cramming everybody into the Mini (it took some effort to get the Worm into the boot), Project Meteor set off at speed to get to the gap before the other agents (who'd had the same idea), all the time avoiding panicking civilians.

A long road ahead.
Under starter's orders...
...and they're off!
Some fool starts was me.
Chaos ensues...
The Worm is unleashed to slow the others down.
Realising he might be faster on foot, Dr Kurtz legs it.
The Professor is caught in traffic.
Dr Kurtz was away and free...
This game was bedlam. Cars were exploding all over the place, and grudges flew back and forth. Somehow, despite having starting the shooting match, mine was one of only a handful of vehicles to make it off the first board. Given the amount of obstacles and the fact that players were allowed to use the vehicles to crash into you, I realised that Dr Kurtz, as an Aqua-Maniac, had the ability to ove faster than the vehicles were allowed to in the scenario, and so I dropped him off and then set about trying to keep the rest of my cast alive long enough to allow him to get to the gate.

Unfortunately, my plan was rumbled with my scaly roadrunner clear of danger, and pretty much everybody set about taking out the rest of my cast. Sylvia and the Spawn were, I think, dispatched by a combination of East End Coppers and the Master. The Professor's mini was wrecked by a drive-by from an old lady in an Aston Martin, and the Worm was swallowed by the advancing  Mesti Wave.

Under threat of my cast being axed, Dr Kurtz passed two spirit tests to make it to within one turn of the end, and then, predictably, my luck failed...and there was much rejoicing!

The game was ultimately won by one of the the little old ladies companions, narrowly ahead of one of the murderous coppers, who both managed to escape the clutches of a couple of Predators. The other agents, aliens, Moon Nazis and monkeys were all swallowed by the Mesti Wave.

However, Dr Kurtz heroic run did not go unrewarded. Everybody who attended received a goodie bag/box containing 4 Plastons (which I will use as Autons from Dr Who), three 7TV dice and a discount voucher for Crooked Dice. In addition, thanks to my glorious failure, I also received a couple of Ainsty Casting vehicles, one of which, the hovercraft, has been on my 'I must get round to buying that' list for some time.

All in all, this was an excellent, if slightly bonkers, day. It was good to meet quite a few people who I know only through Facebook, and we also got quite a bit of insider knowledge about the future of 7TV from Karl from Crooked Dice. Personally, I'm more than a bit excited about the upcoming Time Lost Programme Guide which will be featuring dinosaurs and Doug McClure!