'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts

Monday, December 24, 2018

Battlestar Galactica: Starship Battles. First Look

I finally got my copy of Battlestar Galactica: Starship battles! You can check out my box opening here, BSG Box Opening, but don't worry it's quite short. This blog article is about my first impressions after opening the box and looking at the components. I am not looking to do a direct comparison with X-wing when I talk about this game, but it's hard to not bring it up play wise and component wise, simply because X-wing has been around awhile and I suspect most people reading this will be somewhat aware of it.

First Impressions

I had of course seen pictures of the box online, but this was my first time seeing it and holding it. It's outward basic form is that of most of the games of this type: Sails of Glory, Wings of Glory or X-wing. The little plastic window showed me their cool models, which did not disappoint. I also really liked the inside of the box having the phrase, "SO SAY WE ALL", across the box, one word on each side. Very cool.

Upon opening the box the first thing that made me chuckle was the books having their page edges cut off, just like all the paper we see in the TV show. It was a nice little touch. The insides of the box are nicely laid out with plenty of room for everything. I'll make a note that the cards all fit great when in plastic, but once open they are prone to no longer staying where they belong. This could be an issue with the maneuver decks, as you don't want them getting mixed up.

Models

Excellent. These models are beautiful. I expected that from Ares, as I had played Wings of Glory at a New Years Eve gathering some years ago. They are a little bigger than what we see in X-wing, but I am ok with that. Still I am happy to see them do justice to the Colonial Viper, down to call signs and markings. Very cool. The Cylon raiders are likewise excellent, and I am looking forward to the release of new ships, especially raiders from the original series.

This set comes with two Vipers and two Raiders, just as the windows shows. There isn't any other models in this box, but for $50, I wouldn't expect there to be.


Plastic components

In addition to plotting maneuvers in BSG:SSB, you have a plastic control panel allowing you to plan headings and speeds, as well as a few other things. This control panel is pretty cool and a nice way to track these parts of the game. Unfortunately these are a little stiff. (I'll note that they seem to have loosened up a little over time).

The game also comes, unsurprisingly, with plastic flight stands. These stands are different from what we see in X-wing and I found them to be a little more robust. They also have the ability to select heading, allowing ships to have a heading different than the direction of travel.

Cards

Like most games you get a selection of cards. Like X-wing these include ships and pilots. They also have a selection of cards to personalize your pilots with talents and flaws. Each ship also gets a maneuver deck which is used to plot movements and is the movement template itself, similar to the X-wing maneuver dial. All of the cards are nice, although apart from the ship cards, they are pretty small. The size is in line with the size of the ship add-on cards in X-wing. Downside I see here is the maneuver deck is a set of hexagonal cards. Sleeving them will be difficult.

Card Stock Components

You also get a series of card stock components with the game, basic tokens and range rulers. Nothing fancy here. Everything looks good and inline with the aesthetic of the game. The only standout is the asteroid fields, but it's because it's printed on thin card stock, more like a construction paper weight. They will work, but they aren't as nice as what was in X-wing. Of course I will suggest the game will be prettier with a series of asteroid models....



Dice

Although I appreciate people liking fancy dice, afterall it's more COOL DICE!, I am not generally as much of a fan. I like the concept of the dice in X-wing, as I like counting successes and fails rather than adding dice. However I dislike having to buy a certain die pack to get more. So depending on where you fall on this side of things you will either love or hate that BSG:SSB uses a simple set of 2d6.



Overall

It is a nice set. Fully worth the $52cad I picked it up for. Four excellent models, 4 plastic control panels and a plethora of cards and punch outs. My initial impressions of the components is easily......
4 out of 5 Skulls of my Enemies!

If you liked this article then don't forget to subscribe to get the next exciting installment on pulp gaming both Sci-Fi and Fantasy!

If you have questions or comments don't forget to hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or Instagram!
If you need to check out any of these great games stop on by DriveThruRPG and pick something up through my affiliate link to help support the blog!

Till next time, don't forget to Keep it Weird!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Expanse Rpg. Miniatures?

The quick start presents the rules from a "Theatre of the Mind" perspective. They do mention miniatures and how to convert speed onto a grid scale, but this isn't Savage Worlds. However if you are like me you like miniatures and an excuse to buy more is a good thing!

At present there are no official Expanse miniatures. There are of course various sci-fi and near sci-fi collections out there. I made an attempt to go out and find a few of those and categorize them into areas they might fit into the universe of The Expanse.

This is far from a definitive list and most links will take you to whole collections of similar figures. I also realize these might not be the most ideal miniatures for your vision.

If you have some others you think would make awesome Expanse figures drop me a comment!


The Executives and Politicians


These make up the higher end of government and business. Characters like Chrisjen Avasarala, Sadavir Errinwright and Jules-Pierre Mao.

Men in Black
Copplestone Castings
Francis
Hasslefree Miniatures


Star Helix and Other Security Firms


The private security of the belt and inner planets. Guys and gals with guns, also investigators like Miller

Cops and Paramilitary
Em4/Moonraker
Suits
em4/Moonraker
Gov't Types
Heresy Miniatures


MCRN/UN


The Military. Naval officers, Marines, etc. Bobbie Draper of the MCRN Marines is an example.

Nova Corp
Reaper Bones
Troopers
Em4/Moonraker
Inspectors
Heresy Miniatures
Admiral Edwards
Hasslefree Miniatures


OPA


Militia types representing the loose knit organization of freedom fighters and terrorists

Citizen Militia 1
Copplestone Castings
Scavengers
Copplestone Castings
Scavenger Heros
Copplestone Castings


Civilians

General people living and working on Mars or Earth

Newsteam
Copplestone Castings
Modern Civilians
Old Glory Miniatures


Player Characters

The Holdens, Nagatas, Burtons and Kamals of the universe

Anti-heros
Heresy Miniatures
Laran Jax
Hasslefree Miniatures
Danica
Hasslefree Miniatures


Company list

A list of the companies used in picking a few miniatures I felt might fir into the Expanse. I am sure there are others with these manufacturers as well as others. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Expanse RPG. The Churn.

Kenzo: It must be nice, having everything figured out like that.
Amos: Ain’t nothing to do with me: we’re just caught in the Churn, that’s all.
Kenzo: I have no idea what you just said.
Amos: This boss I used to work for in Baltimore, he called it the Churn. When the rules of the game change.
Kenzo: What game?
Amos: The only game. Survival. When the jungle tears itself down and builds itself into something new. Guys like you and me, we end up dead. Doesn’t really mean anything. Or, if we happen to live through it, well that doesn’t mean anything either.

We got another Expanse Extra yesterday. That is a new mechanic from the RPG that isn't in the quick start. This time the Churn is detailed. This is a mechanic to simulate things going from bad to worse. It will add tension and consequence to the adventure. For me it is similar but different to the role Doom plays in Conan 2d20.

In 2d20, doom stands as a pile that gets added to when various things occur. The GM can then spend that to make bad guys more powerful, introduce more bad guys or just in general make things hard on the players. It is a mechanic designed to simulate the flow of Robert E Howard's epic tales of Conan.

The Churn, although implemented differently, is essentially a mechanic with the same goal in terms of the flow of the story. Things are going well for the players, they have this in the bag. Suddenly the rules change on them and what was easy now becomes difficult.

In it's essence "The Churn" is a running total, when characters do certain things a point is added to that total. When it reaches 10 there is a chance a Minor Stage 1 Churn event happens. If it doesn't happen, the total will increase. When it reaches 20 a Major Stage 2 Churn event may occur. If no event is triggered it continues to increase until it reaches 30, here we have a chance of an Epic Stage 3 Churn event. As you can see each time we get to 10, we check for an event, the level of event increases as the multiple of 10 increases. If you get to 10 points in stage 3, an Epic Stage 3 event occurs. No matter when the pool is triggered it resets to 0.

My first impression is that the Stage 1 events are a little weak IMHO, more choice here would be great. However since I haven't played I don't actually know how fast these things will get generated and it might happen several times in an encounter, and if that is the case it is probably fine.

Either way I am a fan of this style of mechanic. The fact that accumulating The Churn means something bad is going to happen may add enough tension all on it's own to make players a little squirrely.

Be sure to check out my other articles on the Expanse RPG!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Expanse RPG. A Measure of Success.

If you have followed my online RPG presence, you may be aware that one of the things I enjoy about Conan2d20 is the ability to not only succeed at a test, but to succeed by measure. That is there is more to it than just a pass/fail concept.

I believe this idea lends itself to the potential for awesome levels of creative story telling. In standard d20 when I attempt to jump a gap the GM assigns a target number, I roll my d20 and I pass or fail. In a system like 2d20 the GM assigns a difficulty, if I succeed greatly my character can use that success to fuel further actions, such as attacking an enemy right away on the other side of the gap.

Ok enough about 2d20, what does this have to do with the Expanse RPG? As I mentioned in my previous post your basic skill check is a 3d6 roll with a "drama" die. And we will start here.

Before we go on I am going to lay a caveat on this post. All I have is the quickstart rules. I haven't looked at "Modern AGE" at all, although expect it to function similarly.

The drama die, although not a direct measure of success, gives the GM and players a method to see how well or poorly they succeeded at their task. Did they barely fail or almost make it? Did their disguise fully convince those looking, or simply move them beyond notice?

If your players are trying to hack into a computer system to gain intel on the proto-molecule and roll a success, but roll a 1 on the drama dice, you as the GM might decide they have succeeded but managed to set off an alarm that will bring MCRN operatives down on them in a few turns.

The system also has another aspect that I find interesting. Stunts. These are broken out into Combat, Exploration and social depending on what task you are looking at doing. Lets take a look at the idea within a fight between two ruffians.

Noelle
Accuracy: 1
Focus: Pistols
Weapon: Pistol, 2d6+1
Frank
Dexterity: 1
Focus: Knife Fighting
Defense: 10+Dex
Weapon: Dagger, 1d6+3

Noelle draws her pistol and fires it down the dark corridor at her enemy!

Noelle has a TN of 11, Frank's dexterity + 10. She rolls 3d6 and scores 5,5,(2) for a total of 12 on the dice. +1 for her accuracy attribute and +2 for her focus in pistols bring her total score to 15!
Noelle ALSO rolled doubles. This indicates a STUNT! Noelle can now spent 2 stunt points, the number rolled on the drama die. These have to be used right away. Noelle opts to make this a vicious blow causing an additional 1d6 damage. She rolls (2d6+1) 8+1,(+1d6) 3 for a total of 12 damage.

Noelle's pistol echoes with a sharp retort! The round easily catches Frank and only by sheer fortune does he manage to avoid most of the damage, the bullet barely grazing past, leaving a bloody trail along his shoulder.......

Be sure to check out my other articles on the Expanse RPG!

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Expanse: Season 3 (and the show in general).

This is of course largely a gaming blog, and aimed at the pulp genre of the early part of the last century. How futuristic sounding is that? That being said we take ideas and inspiration from everywhere and there is a lot of good content out there these days. Despite my feeling that more and more people simply do not read books, we have a plethora of authors out there writing and creating worlds.

The Expanse is, IMHO, some of the content that you should be consuming on the sci-fi level. Written by James S.A. Corey, the series tells the story of humanity in the near future. Earth, Mars and the Belt working to survive at odds with each other. This post is about the TV show running on SYFY, but I think you should pick up the Expanse novels as well, and the first three are on sale AND on Amazon Prime right now!

April 11th saw the debut of this much loved series, and I got to sit down and watch it last night on Google Play. True to form, the opening of this season was tense and full of action. The story arcs of our main characters are told and they themselves as people grow. We see some characters step up and be incredibly bad ass in their environment, while others we know to be strong be forced to take the back stage. The TV series doesn't follow the books exactly, or maybe not at all. They tell the same story. They follow roughly the same story paths, but apart from that the writers have taken the material and pulled it apart and rewoven it into an exceptional TV show with compelling on screen characters.

Do I think this is a perfect show? No, but I was looking forward to the new season. So what don't I like? Casting wise the characters have grown on me and I understand the reasoning behind not using really famous people. Having read the novels, as is often the case, the characters didn't fit how I had imagined them, sometimes strikingly in some ways. The actors have grown on me and more often than not when I am reading the novels they have supplanted my original imagined views of the characters.

Specifically in Episode 1 of Season 3, I liked it all. As I said it was tense and well executed, I don't recall any time where it was slow, we had some excellent character growth and a few revelations. As well there were a few well timed moments of levity to ease the tension. The worst single part of this show right now is that I need to wait a week till the next episode. Is this really how we watch TV now? :(

If you like Sci-fi and are not watching this, you need to. If you like Sci-fi and are reading this and think my praise of the show is misplaced because you couldn't get through the first few episodes, I urge you to try again. This show is smart and visually pleasing. The near future version of space travel and combat are well conceived in the novels and executed well on the screen.

The Expanse on TV gets a solid.....
4 out 5 Skulls of My Enemies!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Battleship: Beginnings.

I'm working to build a basic fleet.  My first scratchbuilt fleet.  My first fleet.  The previous post showed the work in progress on a cruiser and frigate.

I started working on a battleship last night which uses some small hollow construction techniques.  I got to a fairly rough shape last night and left it to dry so I could work on the filing and shaping with all of the pieces dry.

I will add another post as I continue with it.

70mm Battleship

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Full Thrust: Revisited

Back when I got into miniatures one of the scratch building searches led me to a facebook group called, "Full Thrust: THE Tactical Starship Combat Rules".  Back then I was looking for ideas on scratch building for a set of rules I was working on.  A simple set that I could use to show people spaceship combat without teaching Starfleet Battles.

I had briefly looked at Full Thrust and got to the "WRITE YOUR ORDERS" phase and had visions of Engage thrusters at 50%, Come to a heading of 310 mark 15 etc etc. and because of this I moved away from it and continued down my rules path.

15mm wargaming diverted me to ground combat, and away from the navies of space, but I was recently looking about the Full Thrust group and I decided to read the Full Thrust Light.  "Wow, these are SIMPLE"  Long story short, probably as simple as what I had developed, for the most part anyhow.  FTL would be a SIMPLE game to get people to learn and infact I hear it us often used at conventions.

Ok.  So I played a few solo engaements with my Silent Death minis from EM4, but wanted to get back into scratch building ships. 

I was directed to Starship Combat news for scale ideas and used it to determine the scale for my scratch buils to be around the same size as GZG spaceships.  While I was on SCN I went through their foums and came across their scratch build forum.  Some of it is ok, some it basic, but one user stands out as a scratch builder over there.  His handle is "Toaster"

SCN FORUM: http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/index.php
OMEGA Class: http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=2581
HYPERION: http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=2659
SULACO: http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=7081
MORE: http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=2612

CLONE WARS: http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=6546
 NARN: http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=5308


GENERAL: http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=2635

MORE IDEAS:
http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=10080
http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=8017

Using his ideas I have begun scratch building my first fleet.



Basic plasticard cutouts

Gluing into a body

Initial tests.

Additional details and a few Silent Death escorts.

Ships need engines but now a Cruiser and a Frigate.