Wednesday 30 November 2016

7TV: Turtles vs Zombies

Image by RatGnaw on Deviant Art

Having finished my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles last week, I wanted an excuse to get them on the table. With a distinct lack of gaming opportunities I turned to the solo option, and the best bag guys for solo games: Zombies!

In search of some inspiration for a game, I stumbled across not only the excellent title card above, but also a short motion comic that serves as a nice introduction to the game. LINK

The scenario was The Hit, and the Turtles would be joined by a VIP representing April O'Neil (in the TMNT PDF, April is a separate character, but I didn't want to worry too much about another set of abilities for this game), and was positioned in the centre of the board. As I was playing solo, I set the objectives (representing zombie spawn points) first and dice randomly for table edges. 24 zombies began on the table, but at the start of each turn I would draw from the 7ombie TV spawn deck for each objective still in action. I also swapped the zombies 'tactics' trait for the solo rule from 7ombie TV where all unactivated zombies gain a free move action. I used the zombie activations on the zombies closest to the enemy.

The Turtles rush to save April.
Zombies stumble out of the factory.
Michelangelo seals the first spawn point, by the bins.
Zombies clamber up onto the trailer to get to April.
Donatello sweeps them clear and hurls a gas grenade he'd invented.

Leonardo and Raphael shut down the warehouse spawn point.

April climbs off the trailer and the Turtles move to protect her.

More zombies swarm over the trailer.

Donnie looks like he's about to be swarmed.

Leo and Raph begin to cut their way through to the factory.

Mikey rushes in to clear out the spawn point beneath the trailer.

Whilst Donnie uses a grapple gun to swing to the builder's yard.

April makes it the safety of a cop car.

But Donnie's being hunted through the brickyard.

And Mikey is alone against the horde.
Somehow, Mikey and Donnie make it clear of their pursuers.
And the zombies keep coming.
Until a special effects sequence thins the horde.
Meanwhile, Raph and Leo are hacking and slashing.
And get closer to their goal.
But more zombies swarm out of the factory.
Raph and Leo find themselves hemmed in.
Ultimately, ninja training wins out and Leo flips over the car to success.

With a big chunk taken out of the zombie horde and all the spawn points sealed, the game was effectively over before the end of Act Two. Although I had fun, the zombies needed a bit of a boost for solo play. In retrospect, it would probably be wise to give them an additional attack or defence dice for each additional zombie in base contact with their intended target, as this would allow a swarm to bring down a hero - in this game the Turtles were never really in danger.

But I've given the Turtles a run out and I'm now aware of their capabilities. Michelangelo is the scout, both fast and resilient. Donatello is defensive, able to hold back foes. Raphael is primed for jumping into the middle of the fight and taking on all comers, especially big hitters. Leonardo is the leader and is able to take down multiple foes - he does well on crowd control.

It will be interesting to see how they do when their opponent can think.

Sunday 27 November 2016

A Lean Green Fighting Machine

I've had a bit of a busy month with work, and so my painting and gaming has taken a bit of a back seat for a few weeks. I have however had a steady stream of parcels arrive, delivering a range of fun goodies that I've been snapping up online - more of that in the coming weeks.

However, I was particularly pleased to receive a delivery from (appropriately) across the pond, which cost me, including postage, the staggering sum of £8. I present my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...

The models are from the Heroclix TMNT start set, and as such are available for next to nothing as singles from online retailers. I needed to do a little bit of hot-water-trickery to straighten the weapons, and there are some mould lines I worked on that show up worse in these pictures, but at the price I paid, I'm not complaining.

I've also departed from previous behaviour by mounting them on resin bases as I'd 'won' a few at a recent BMG event, and had also got my hands on a few with some second hand purchases. The resin bases add some much needed weight to the models, but will also serve to distinguish my TMNT models from my other projects.

Leonardo is probably my favourite of the sculpts, as he's a little more dynamic, and this allowed my so stand him on a split level base. I almost messed him up when I began to highlight in white, and it looked awful (you can still see some of it on his chest and face), but this small crisis led to me discovering that you can apparently highlight green with pale brown.

Donatello required the most weapon straightening of the four, unsurprisingly. With clix this is easily done with a cup of boiled water and a cup of cold water. Dunk the miniature (prior to painting) in the hot water for a couple of seconds until the bent bit goes soft, take it out, straighten it, and then dunk it in the cold water to set it.

I was worried about Donatello's colour being too brown during painting, as I'd done him in Vallejo Brown Violet. However, the light brown highlight I did after messing up Leonardo, actually brought the others closer to Donnie's colour, reducing the contrast and making his colour seem more right.

Raphael is my favourite character of the four, and fittingly is the one I'm happiest with in terms of painting - both in colour palette and accuracy. Again I was able to base him on a split level base, making him a bit more dynamic.

Of the four, Michelangelo caused me most grief. As I was trying to get each turtle a slightly different shade of green, I used GW Goblin Green for Mikey, and even with a wash of Agrax Earthshade, he was looking far too vibrant. Combined with this, his stance is not only the most dull, it's also least fitting to the character's personality. What's more, the mould lines are more pronounced on Mikey.

Despite this, I was relieved when the brown highlight dulled him down enough to at least make him fit in with the others, and this means that I can happily put up with him for the time being. At least until I can source a better scuplt that reflects his chaotic personality...and has a skateboard.

My intention is to use these models with 7TV2. If you weren't already aware, Crooked Dice have done some free PDF download supplements for a few well known TV shows and films (so far, they've done: TMNT, Scooby Doo and Star Wars), containing rules, profile cards and scenarios. I already have the first of my villains in the works to face the turtles, so expect to see mutants, aliens, robots, ninjas and roving reporters to pop up on the blog over the next couple of months.

Monday 7 November 2016

Dark Victory Tournament Report

I attended another Batman event at Holmfirth at the weekend. Given that the Animosity events are more about narrative that full on competition, I decided to take a slightly unusual crew...the Justice League!
Flash, Batman, Hawkgirl and...erm...Lantern?
There has been much debate about the relative merits of both small crews and speedsters, so I thought I'd try both. I wasn't too worried about my competitiveness as I was more keen to get some interesting games in with models I hadn't used before, and pose a different challenge for my opponents.

Game 1 - Patrol vs Sam's Penguin Crew
Lighting photos was a bit of an issue.
Sam's crew was big and slow (or so I thought), however, he made really good use of Inspire and Follow Me to get them moving really quickly down the main street of our board. I made a massive mistake by dropping Hawkgirl into the middle of the mob, and she got battered. However, Batman and Flash were able to claw back the score a bit thanks to grabbing loot, solving riddles and even getting the Bat-signal turned on once. The cop blew his whistle manfully to slow down the Penguin gang and my placement of the Bat-signal kept Lobo out of the fight to guard it.
Yes, it's an old photo. The lorry wasn't there this time.
Ultimately, the unstoppable flock of Penguin goons swarmed into my deployment zone, took out the cop and jumped onto the objectives. However, I was pleased to keep the VP gap to just 6, which only counted as loss by one point. Had Batman not completely fluffed his attacks on the last turn, it would have been a draw.

Game 2 - Plunder vs Steve's Scarecrow Gang
Steve's crew took some wear and tear during the day.
Plunder is arguably the scenario which least suits small crews and so I wasn't hopeful...until Steve told me that he didn't have any Bat-claws. This meant that after Hawkgirl turned on the Bat-signal in turn one, it cranked out 3 VP's per turn for me and allowed my crew to get on with other stuff.

Batman clobbered Deadshot, but had a close call against the Militia Brute when he managed to tag him with a knock down. Flash ran about not doing a lot, but the threat of his flurry of attacks, kept Steve's weaker henchmen at arm's length. The cop sat on ammo and loot, racking up points until the last turn when he got clobbered. Hawkgirl again got over ambitious and, despite knocking out a henchman, again got mobbed and dragged down. Meanwhile, Steve's ranged threat made me too cautious, and almost killed both Flash and Batman.
Another old photo...I forgot to photograph the boards.
Ultimately, I'd been scoring more points per turn, we both took down an enemy Free Agent and a Henchman, and Steve was able to level things up when he prevented me scoring the Ammo and Loot for the last two turns. The final score was 40-38 to Steve, which was a draw.

This was a really tight game, but my misuse of Hawkgirl (again!) combined with my inability to really do anything meaningful with Flash, prevented me from really having a chance of winning. However, we both enjoyed this really cagey match up.

Game 3 - Infiltration (Modified Version) vs James' Bane Gang
Dallas and Deadshot! Yay!
Whereas Plunder wasn't ideal for my gang, the combination of the Infiltration scenario, a board with lots of terrain, a footslogging gang and a fat cop with a whistle, meant that James was going to struggle to complete the objective of getting markers all the way across the board. I however, was extremely mobile, and set about solving riddles (or trying to), grabbing tokens and zipping around.

Hawkgirl made up for earlier failures by clobbering Deadshot and getting the Bat-signal turned on for most of the game. Flash intimidated James' henchmen from coming forward and zoomed an objective token into the end zone successfully. Batman turned out to be too slow to be able to batter henchmen and move a token about. In retrospect, I should have not worried about the mission objective and just splattered some henchmen.
Bat-Signal + Crane = Arsehole!
When Hawkgirl was again beaten up (this time by Bane), James managed to claw the result back to a draw. Of all the games this is the one I kicked myself about as if I'd just not worried about the objectives, I could have got to the loot counter that James was able to secure early enough to keep in touch, and sent Batman and Flash after soft targets. Ultimately, I should have realised that the cop's whistle meant that James was never going to get all the way across such a dense board.

My highlight of the game was losing the roll to determine sides, as it prevented me from being forced to choose whether I wanted to be an arse and place the Bat-signal on the massive crane.

Game 4 - Fight For Gotham vs Simon's Bane Gang
They look a bit punchy!
Although I wasn't supposed to play against a second Bane crew, I kept quiet when we were sorting out the games for the last round as I was looking forward to playing Simon from Brummie's Wargaming Blog (see the sidebar for a link). I was also interesting as this would be the first time I'd seen some of the new Suicide Squad models in action, as he'd (very quickly) managed to get both Slipknot and Killer Croc painted in time for the event.

We were playing on the Lian Yu board that caused me issues in the last event, and the lack of cover combined with the presence of Dallas with night vision goggles made me extremely cautious. Thankfully the tournament conditions put two handy bonfires on the table as bonus cover.
Not an old photo, a stolen one! Thanks Simon!
I made an immediate mistake by placing my objectives poorly (it was a long day and I was tired), and this allowed Simon to guard both with Bane. Meanwhile, Batman and the Cop guarded his objectives, and although they brought down Croc, this took too long, and so I was unable to do much about the Venom Thug sneaking onto the Titan Container for a couple of turns.

Hawkgirl did a great job this time, dropping Dallas early on, sneaking some point off the Ammo crate and somehow surviving two rounds of (fluffed) attacks from Bane. I think the thing that really cost me in this game was not really having a plan with Flash, and dropping a loot counter to sort of support Hawkgirl and then not being in position to block the Venom Thug meant that he didn't contribute a great deal

The game turned out as a draw, although a thoroughly enjoyable one. In hindsight, due to my speed, I had the initiative and didn't really use it properly, and so most of the game was a bit of a stand off.

Three draws and a loss represent my worst set of results for some time, however, I was using an unusual crew which I found tricky to get the best out of. however, in retrospect, if someone were tempted to try this crew again, I'd say the following:

  • with such a small crew, you need to decide whether you are going to try to attack your own objectives or defend the enemy's, you cant really do both - I'd suggest threatening to attack (to force the opponent to defend), grab loot to score points, and then focus on ambushing the enemy as they advance
  • you need a clear plan with Flash, he can be almost everywhere, but he shouldn't try to be; so work out how he is going to score most points, whether that's getting to objectives, grabbing loot or beating up henchmen, and then do it (I'd suggest that he's a great candidate for the threatening role, to pin back the enemy)
  • Hawkgirl is a glass cannon and should be treated like one and sent at an isolated, high priority target (snipers are ideal)
  • Don't rely on Batman alone for inflicting damage on big targets as he's prone to fluffing and only does stun damage - he needs back up in the form of Hawkgirl (don't lose her too early) to take them down quickly or the cop to arrest them when he does put someone on their back
  • do not underestimate the power of a cop with a whistle!
Anyway, four challenging games against really good opponents (in every sense) was great fun. Once again Animosity and Holmfirth Gaming Centre put on a great (if chilly) day and I'll be jumping at the next event they host.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Zombtober: The Epilogue

Yes, I know it's November...

For the last few years, Zomtober has culminated in a big zombie game, and this year was no different. Matt, Pete, Wes and I gathered for a four way game in which three groups of survivors would compete to achieve mutually obstructive objectives, whilst the zombies, played by me, tried to eat them all. We used the 7TV rules with a few slight amendments for multi-player games I made up.

Rather than bore you with the details, let's get straight to the action...

Ultimately, Wes and his criminals won, as his goals were capturing loot tokens (of which he got one) and breaking the other two players forces (Pete's survivors broke). Matt's attempt to blow up the bridge (my table edge) failed when his Explosives Expert was killed, but he rallied to take second by snagging a loot token. Pete actually came close to stealing the SWAT van and would probably have made it over the bridge if he had, he'd also secured two loot tokens before his forces broke. I was just trying to eat people...I did.

Again, 7TV proves itself versatile and effective, and I'm building up a growing list of things I'd like to do with the rules. You'll definitely be seeing much more 7TV stuff from me in the future.

Tomorrow I'm off to a Batman event, so I'll hopefully get that written up during next week.