Saturday, 22 July 2017

Codename: Lovecraft

A new kaiju has risen from The Breach. Codenamed 'Lovecraft', it's a hideous tentacled horror with a wide-angle psychic attack. And it's been drawn to a remote Pacific island from which an unusual energy signature has been detected.

A jaeger is dispatched to destroy the monster - Gipsy Danger.

And the unusual energy signature? A mysterious crystal structure. The jaeger pilots are tasked with studying the crystal, whilst preventing the kaiju from spending enough time in proximity to it to draw power from it.

I set up a game of Mighty Monsters this morning in order to give the game another try. When I first played it I wasn't sure about it, but having got a few more Ganesha-system games under my belt since then I thought that it would be worth revisiting. And I also had my brand spanking new Gipsy Danger model to try out. Since I was trying a mech, I downloaded Samurai Robots Battle Royale as well. Whilst a standalone game, it also allows you to integrate monsters and mechs into one game.

Both monster and mech were lifted straight from the rules, albeit that there they have generic names to avoid copyright breaches:

Head Q3 C3 - Psychic Area Attack C5L
Body Q3 C4 - Regeneration
Arms Q3 C3
Legs Q3 C3
Slow, Grappler, Radiation Immunity, Amphibious

Gipsy Danger
Head Q3 C2 - Multiple Pilots (2)
Body Q3 C4 - One-Shot Missile C4M
Arms Q3 C3 - Elbow Thruster, Blade, Plasma Gun C4S
Legs Q3 C3

The scenario was this. The crystal was in the centre of the island, which was littered with random mountains and rocks. The opponents started in opposite corners, equidistant from the crystal. At the end of each turn, whichever of the two was closest to the crystal, and within one L of it, would score a victory point. At the end of the tenth turn, and each turn thereafter, a dice would be rolled. on a 5-6 the game would end. The winner would be the one with the most points.

So, whilst taking down your opponent was important, what was more important was your position relative to them.

Lovecraft was slow, which meant that they could only make a single move per activation. Gipsy Danger didn't have this limit, so soon reached the crystal, quickly getting between it and the kaiju.

The two titans exchanged fire, but it was obvious that the jaeger's plasma gun wasn't in the same league as the creature's psychic attack. Already lightly damaged, Gipsy Danger charged into close combat, her sword cutting a great wound in the monster.

Lovecraft retaliated by smashing the jaeger with a rock ...

... then grappling it and throwing it.

Gipsy Danger quickly regained her feet, and rebooted her weapons system, which had malfunctioned. She then fired her missile, to no effect. Lovecraft was now soaking up power from the crystal, and hit the jaeger with another psychic blast, KO-ing one of the pilots.

Before the jaeger could recover, another psychic blast saw its sensors completely disabled, blinding it.

The mech withdrew, giving Lovecraft a convincing win.

Lovecraft had only taken one hit, which it had regenerated.

In Mighty Monsters, damage is marked by turning white activation dice first into yellow ones and then into red. If the coloured dice are used, and fail activation rolls, a test is made for damage effects.
Mechs work differently. When a white dice becomes yellow or a yellow dice goes red, the mech automatically rolls on a malfunction or damage table respectively. So mech always get a problem from damage, but the dice then have no major effect (they do modify future damage rolls). Monsters get no immediate ill effects from damage, but can suffer multiple issues if they push themselves to hard whilst injured. It's an interesting contrast.

Gipsy Danger will return another day (probably with a slight redesign).

I set up the scenario again, but this time with a different jaeger. Since I'm still printing and painting other jaegers from the film, I used an 'unofficial' one I'd used in a game of Giant Monster Rampage last year - the axe and shield brawler, Gambler Diamond.

Gambler Diamond
Head Q3 C2 - Multiple Pilots (2)
Body Q3 C4 - Missiles C2M
Arms Q3 C4 - Melee Weapon, Large Shield, Concussion Force Blast C4M
Legs Q3 C3
Short Move, Amphibious

Gambler Diamond.

Once again it was the jaeger which reached the crystal first. Lovecraft closed with a psychic attack, whilst the mech held it back with a couple of concussive blasts.

A second psychic attack damaged the mech.

Lovecraft closed, putting itself fractionally closer to the crystal than the jaeger was.

Blows were exchanged, but Gambler Diamond couldn't land a hit with its axe, and Lovecraft failed to grapple the mechanical titan. Gambler Diamond took a risk, and broke off the combat, taking a hit which caused a temporary weapons malfunction as it did so.

Time was drawing on. Whilst Lovecraft could probably finish off Gambler Diamond at range with psychic attacks, each turn that went by would see the jaeger scoring points. The tentacled horror had to trade positions, quickly. It charged, and used the once-per-game berserk option to try and get a firm grapple on its opponent. It failed, but a damaging blow saw the mech's shield destroyed.

Gambler Diamond held firm until turn ten, when Lovecraft finally immobilised it, stamping on and destroying the mech's axe as well. The kaiju turned, and was ready to throw the now badly damaged jaeger, but the dice score indicated the end of the game. Despite being close to destruction, Gambler Diamond had secured a win.

Although I constantly had to look a lot of stuff up, I found the rules much easier to use than before, and also found I enjoyed the game far more too. I liked the differing damage effects between monsters and mechs, and am interested in seeing how other types of mechanical things work; the rules allow you to create not just walking devices, but things such as gigantic cyber-tanks as well.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Unstoppable March Of The Dead

With two new Dragon Rampant warbands printed off, it was time to give them a proper outing, so last night Caesar and I gave them a go.

We chose 24pt warbands; Caesar took the Spectral Host whilst I took the Boring Humans, now the Army of the Temples of Syrinx. What can I say? I'm an old prog-rock tragic.

We randomised the terrain, randomised leader abilities, then randomly determined a scenario. The first one we got was Death Chase, which saw a force of Syrinx raiders returning home across Spectral Host territory and being ambushed. I had to get as many units as possible off the other end of the table. The Undead just had to destroy as many of my units as possible.

We played on a 4' x 2' table, but with all ranges and distances halved, so effectively the equivalent of an 8' x 4' playing surface.

The Spectral Host consisted of:

Elite Riders - Undead, Level Headed, Fear, Leader
Elite Foot - Undead, Fear
Heavy Foot - Undead
Scouts - Undead

The Temples of Syrinx fielded:

Elite Foot - Leader
2 x Heavy Foot
Heavy Foot - Offensive
Light Missiles

We both selected a nice mix of quests to add spice to the scenario.

Here's the setup. I left my elite foot off table, so that I could bring them on where needed. A silly move, because it also meant that I lost my leader's Courage bonus, whilst facing an enemy that had units with the Fear trait.

Caesar checked some ruled before the Host began its attack.

I advanced as quickly as my plodding troops allowed, hoping to swing the attacking heavy foot around from my right whilst the spearmen and archers fixed the enemy in the centre. With a slow army, an epic run down the table was out of the question. My plan was to hold Caesar's inevitable attack, and try and destroy his force.

The inevitable attack - his Spectral Knights charged my archers, who completely failed to loose off any arrows in response.

Amazingly, although they took heavy casualties, the archers simply fell back. And they took out some of the enemy as well; the Undead trait means that units will not go battered as a result of failed Courage tests, but are more vulnerable to taking casualties.

On the other flank my second unit of heavy foot was plonked on a hill where I hoped to be able to resist the Spectral Host's elite foot. It would have worked, had I not fluffed a basic Courage test, and routed.

One of Caesar's quests was to attack with every one of his units. This meant that he chose to throw his puny banshee scouts into my vicious swordsmen. It went just as well as you would expect; they were wiped out without a single swordsman raising a sweat. But he got the point for the quest.

This left the swordsmen without an opponent. As my elite Temple Knights finally appeared, I moved the swordsmen forward towards the end of the table.

My archers fell to a series of attacks from the cream of the Spectral Host. destroying them as another of Caesar's quests.

Caesar's foot formed a wall of spears thinking I was going to attack him. I didn't; I marched around him, running for safety.

He came out of the wall of spears. Then I attacked him. The spectral spearmen were dispersed. In the meantime the Syrinx Knights had destroyed Caesar's horsemen; one of my quest goals. This now left Caesar with just his elite foot, whilst I still had three units in play.

I used my elite Knights as a rearguard, engaging Caesar's elites. He was wiped out. I failed a basic Courage test and routed. This ended the scenario.

I managed to get two full strength units off the table, but lost three, which made the scenario a draw. But Caesar had achieved more points of quests than I, which gave him a marginal win.

We kept the terrain as it was and decided to play a second scenario. We both modified our forces; Caesar dropped his heavy foot and the Fear on his elite foot and took some spectral Bellicose Foot with Terrifically Shiny Armour. I dropped my swordsmen, and took some Heavy Riders and added a Wizardling priestess to one of my heavy foot units.

We rolled the Ringbearer scenario. One of my units was carrying a powerful magical artefact that Caesar's Host wanted. He didn't know which. he would score big points if he destroyed or routed the unit holding the artefact. I scored big points if the unit was still in play at the end. The tricky part of this scenario was that if the unit with the artefact ever became the only unit I had left, it would self-destruct, destroying both armies and scoring neither side any points except for completed quests. This nasty subtlety makes for some interesting play.

We rolled leader abilities. Caesar chose Unstoppable March Of The Dead, which meant that he ignored a whole range of potential Courage test causes. I rolled a triple-six, which meant my leader was so strong that his unit could reroll three failed attack dice.

We then both promptly forgot about our leader abilities, and failed to use them.

My heavy riders. Apparently they're called Gronks, and I found them on Thingiverse.

The Spectral Host's bellicose foot.

Deployment. I planned on sitting tight behind the river. Caesar attacked. I failed loads of initial activation rolls, and barely moved off the baseline.

The gronks did manage to advance, though, attacking the banshees in the open.

Caesar failed to evade, and they were crushed underfoot, although they did inflict some casualties.

The rest of the Spectral Host crossed the river. My priestess attempted to bolster her troops with magical courage.

The archers had a nice spot on the hill, and managed to thin out the enemy ranks as they advanced.

They were charged and, despite their magical courage, they fell back.

The foot unit guarding the priestess had failed to move off the baseline, so retreated off the table when attacked by Caesar's elite foot.

The elite foot finished off the archers as well, before falling to the Syrinx Knights. The surviving bellicose foot then charged to destruction against the mighty Syrinx leader.

The gronks attacked the Spectral Hosts's cavalry, and were destroyed, but took a couple of ghostly horsemen with them.

This now left three units in play. I had two, and one of them had the ring. If Caesar destroyed the wrong unit, the scenario would end.

I moved my elite foot to engage him. He reasoned that the ring was being held by the heavy foot, who simply formed a wall of spears and were waiting for him.

The final fight. Caesar charged. We both took casualties ...

... and the Host routed.

This gave me a convincing win; not only had I retained the ring, but we both got points for destroyed units. In addition, I had picked up loads of points for my quests, which involved destroying two of Caesar's key units, as well as never having more than one battered unit on my side at any time.

Both games were a great deal of fun, and the rues played very smoothly. The Temples of Syrinx performed exactly as a no-frills warband should; boring but reliable. The Spectral Host was interesting to play, but very brittle. The Undead trait probably works better on cheaper units with low armour values, rather than on the high-point units we were using. I think I need to print some more spearmen for the host.

Needless to say, every figure in play was printed at home.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

To Fight Monsters, We Created Monsters Of Our Own

We watched 'Pacific Rim' again the other day. It's still as awesome as ever. Afterwards I remembered that I downloaded a set of 3D print files for the five main Jaegers featured in the film last year, and thought that I'd try printing one off.

So here's Gipsy Danger. Four-and-a-half hours of printing, one of cleanup and a couple of hours of painting. She stands just over 3" tall.

Gipsy mostly printed OK, although before I do any of the other Jaegers I'm going to have to do some maintenance on the printer and also consider the best way of printing these models; this one worked, but they are difficult prints owing to the detail and the stability of the mode on the print-bed. 

I have left the Jaeger on a plain base for now, until I decide how I want to decorate it.

Coming soon?

Maybe some kaiju are too big for even a Jaeger - Gipsy Danger meets Gypsy Danger.

(Yes, we got the spelling wrong when we named the cat)

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