Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Aliens vs. marines with Flying Lead

We tried out Flying Lead from Ganesha Games recently, with mixed results (mostly owing to my own mistakes in the rules). Ganesha also publishes Song of Blades & Heroes, our club's current favorite fantasy skirmish game.

Flying Lead is built on the same rules engine, with each model having just two stats plus a few special rules. You'd think this would make for a speedy game, but I must admit that Flying Lead required a fair amount of rulebook-flipping to get through a basic combat. The multitude of special rules was also a big hindrance...rather than making each figure unique, it caused headaches as I tried to remember which of my identically painted Colonial Marines had the Hitman rule, and which had the Elite rule, and which had the NCO ability, etc. Better to minimize the special rules, perhaps, and only give them to one or two key models? But then, where's the fun in that...?

Anyway, we played an aliens vs. marines scenario on a dustry, dry wasteland planet strewn with boulders and scraggly trees. It looked pretty sharp, considering we threw the table together in a few minutes without much effort.

This was the second time our group tried Flying Lead, and I made the same mistake in this game that I did in my previous game. It was just a misreading of a rule, and as a result, my marines were slaughtered by the encroaching aliens before they even got out of their deployment zone. Here's an example of how the game went for me:

Our second game, a 3-player scenario where the aliens were deployed in the center of the table and had to fight against both marines and Predators, went a little better. But Flying Lead still seemed far less intuitive than Song of Blades & Heroes. I don't understand why...perhaps the nuances of a shooting-based game causes the whole rules engine to slow down a bit?

Anyway, the search continues for the right sci-fi skirmish game. Up next is 5150, Future War Commander Skirmish, Wastelands v.3, and perhaps Nuclear Renaissance. We'll find the ideal ruleset or die trying!

First blood (literally) for these freshly painted miniatures

It's always awesome to see new miniatures hit the table, especially if they've been painted by folks new to the miniatures hobby. Two players at last night's Song of Blades & Heroes game fielded their own hand-painted warbands, the product of hours of painting, modeling and finessing. Congratulations to Ryan and Chris! I remember painting my very first miniatures back in 1997, and the thrill of placing them on the tabletop (followed by the heartbreak when they got blown to pieces by a plasma gun or a sword thrust or whatever).

Anyway, Chris' Dwarves tangled with Ryan's Lizardmen twice last night, with the Dwarves winning out both times. These photos show the Dwarves, advancing in a tight cluster across the table, being slowly surrounded by the numerically inferior Lizardmen. The color palette for last night's game was particularly attractive, with a dusty red tabletop mat and some autumn-colored trees for scenery. Game on!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Asteroid defense stations for Full Thrust

After this past weekend's Full Thrust game, I finally made good on my intent to scratch-build a couple orbital defense stations for use in our games.

I used lava rocks straight out of the bag, no repainting, and glued various Mechwarrior bits and bobs to the craggy surface (no repainting of the MW bits the colors you see are from the original unit paintjob). Both took about 20 minutes to create, and that included sifting through my bits box for appropriately shaped stuff.

I really like the idea of a space navy towing hollowed-out asteroids into orbit around various strategic planets, then filling them with power plants and weapons and gun crews to defend the system. I tried to point the guns and missile launchers in various directions, rather than all straight horizontal, since these defense stations will be engaging targets all around them. Hopefully we'll game with them soon!