Working on More Austrians

Over the weekend, I found a little time to begin work on eight battalions of 10mm Austrian infantry.  These will be used to complete my Austrian order of battle.  When I finish these eight battalions I’ll still be short a battalion or two of Grenzers and two regiments of hussars.

In parallel I’ve been working on some Scooby Doo figures from Hasslefree.  I hope to post pictures of finished products after this coming weekend.


Major Progress on 1814 Scenario Book

Dave Wood and I have been plugging away at an 1814 scenario book for Fate of Battle for over a year.  Dave has put in a lot of hours over the past month to try to get this completed.  We wanted to release the book in 2014, and we’re just about done.  Earlier in the week I printed all the scenarios and went through them with a red pen.  Saturday Dave and I spent five or six hours in an interactive editing session on my computer.  We think the content of the book is pretty solid now and are just looking for little inconsistencies and Ebonics.

The introduction is about half done.  Dave is working on a brief campaign description.  Then I’ll finish the table of contents and the cover.  Our goal is to hand a hard copy to Dennis of On Military Matters at Cold Wars for his review to see if he wants to print and distribute the book.  If Dennis is not interested, we’ll put it on RPGNow for pdf download, so stay tuned.

The book has 10 battles from the campaign, focusing on the invasion of France by the Armies of Bohemia and Selesia.  The Battle of La Rothiere is actually three scenarios:  the main battle, the French left flank, and the entire battle.  We will be running the whole battle at Cold Wars in March.

There were three other invasion armies, including Wellington over the Pyrenees.  We are thinking of completing the Wellington battles (three of them) and posting them to our Web page or posting them for $2 each on RPGNow.  More to follow.

Watch for the book to hit the streets in the next few weeks.

Snow Day!

Today the whole Baltimore-Washington area was blanketed by sleet and snow.  As a result, work was closed.  That gave me time to spend four hours on my consulting job and to shovel a ton of snow.  I also had time to finish a couple of small projects I started after I finished painting 16 battalions of 10mm Russian grenadiers for Fate of Battle.


The A Team (actually Foundry Street Violence "B Team")
The A Team (actually Foundry Street Violence "B Team")

I only watch about three or four hours of television a week.  I consistently struggle to find things that we can all watch as a family without worrying about excessive language or people yanking off their clothes.  Netflix has been a godsend.  Lately we’ve been having fun watching old episodes of the A-Team.  The first four seasons are fun.  The fifth season isn’t nearly as good.

The A Team (actually Foundry Street Violence "B Team")
The A Team (actually Foundry Street Violence "B Team")

I got the bug to find the van and paint figures to use in my town of Granville for pulp-style games.  The van I found by Ertl on Ebay.  The figures are from Foundry.  They were fun to paint and a nice diversion after all those white belts and red turn backs.

Tree Monster from Reaper Bones
Tree Monster from Reaper Bones

I’ve also begun picking away at some of the larger Bones figures from Reaper.  It was these large figures that enticed me into the Kickstarter project.  Many of the regular fantasy figures I ended up selling in the flea market at Historicon.  I wanted the larger creatures to work into my GASLIGHT games.  This tree monster didn’t take a lot of time or finesse, but I think it turned out okay.

Bones Flame Things

Flame monster / elemental
Flame monster / elemental

After finishing up scads of Russians this weekend, getting them based, flocked, organized, and boxed, I was looking for something that would take a little less effort.  The figures I really wanted from the Bones Kickstarter were the large creatures.  I’ll be working on the hydra, rock creature, and other large figures later, but for now, I wanted to show the flame creatures I painted this weekend.

All of the flame things
All of the flame things

I think I bought two sets of these.  They come in translucent red plastic, so all I did was dry brush them with orange, yellow, and white paint.  I think they turned out okay.

The flame daemon
The flame daemon


…So this morning I was thinking about how to handle snipers in my under-development WWII skirmish game.  (You know the rules are almost done when you start thinking about snipers and vehicles getting stuck in the mud.)  I implemented snipers in Beer and Pretzels Skirmish (BAPS) many, many years ago.  (There are still some very unique aspects of BAPS that I think are superior to many popular sets of WWII skirmish rules.)  There really are two kinds of snipers.  The first is the good marksman who was handed an improved rifle (or the same rifle but with a scope) and was designated the squad or platoon sniper.  Often these snipers were not given significantly different training than any other infantryman.  The second was the specially trained sniper who not only had a better weapon but also had greater skills in marksmanship and camouflage.

The first case is easily handled by giving the squad or platoon sniper an “elite” accuracy attribute and increasing the range on his rifle.  The second case is a little more difficult to address without a lot of goofy rules.  These are not fully-developed thoughts but just a laundry list of some ideas.  Some are a rehash of things from BAPS, but others are new.  Here are some ideas I’ve been considering:

  • Snipers don’t flip a card to determine which figure they hit.  They get to designate their target — before shooting.  They do have to flip a card to determine the hit location and severity.
  • In contrast to the previous bullet, maybe a really good sniper just flips a card for wound severity and not for hit location.  In this way, the sniper would essentially negate any cover benefit the target soldier might be using.
  • When a sniper fires, he flips an additional card after resolving the shot.  If any explosion marker (used for HE) shows on the card, the sniper must displace (move) at least 24 inches before firing again as a sniper.  If during this displacement he shoots at someone, it is merely as an “elite” accuracy rifleman.  A key to a sniper’s longevity is to fire a few shots and move before the enemy pinpoints their location.  Most rules don’t enforce this tactic, so snipers can become overly powerful in a game.
  • Once a snipe reaches his new location, it takes some number of activations (TBD) to establish himself.  This means set up a good firing position, emplacing camouflage, etc.  This cannot be done in the open.  Once established, the sniper position should be difficult to spot.  This would require the use of the optional spotting rules, which are a modification of those in Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII.

So what are some other things I need to think about?

  • Blowing holes in walls,
  • Refining modifications to spotting,
  • Dog mines,
  • Land mines,
  • Medics,
  • Calling for off-board artillery, and
  • Close air support.

As these rules are for me and not for publication, I don’t need to make a comprehensive list, but at some point, I need to come up with the attributes (armor, reliability, etc.) for the vehicles I have in my collection.


Bogging Down or Throwing Track

For the WWII rules I’ve been developing, I’ve been thinking about how to determine when a vehicle bogs down or throws track.  I didn’t want to create a new system or add yet more symbols to the action cards.  Duncan suggested that instead of this being the vehicle rolling to NOT throw track that perhaps rough terrain could “attack” the vehicle to try to throw track.  It’s an interesting notion that I’ve thought about quite a bit over the last two weeks.

What are the key things that would determine whether a vehicle throws track?  First would be rough terrain.  Tanks generally throw track when traversing deep mud or going across hillsides and then trying to turn.  Tanks don’t generally throw track when traveling across rolling terrain and making gentle turns.  Second would be the training of the crew.  Better crews would ensure that the track tension is inspected and maintained regularly.  Of tertiary importance, I think is the characteristics of the vehicle itself.  Most sets of rules start with this third factor, rarely tanking into account crew quality.

So the thinking was something like this:  The terrain has an “accuracy,” like personnel, graded Elite, Regular, and Green.  This is where the terrain would start on the action card in the top “bubble” area.  Swamp, with its deep muck and hidden, subsurface obstacles, would be “elite,” but a low stone wall would be “green.”  The vehicle would have a “defense” value associated with its innate reliability and whether it is tracked or wheeled.  Wheeled vehicles don’t “throw track,” but until very, very recently, they were more likely to get stuck in rough terrain than were tracked vehicles.  This defensive value would be a “column shift,” impacting the chance of the terrain getting a “hit.”  I haven’t thought about how to incorporate the training of the crew, but I thought about making that a column shift as well:  green crews shift one to the left and elite crews shift one to the right.  In any event, if you got a bogging down “hit,” you wouldn’t flip the next card to determine the impact as you would with a rifle hit on a soldier.  A “hit” would indicate that the vehicle is stuck, essentially a mobility kill.

I’ll need to look at the numbers a bit and make sure that it isn’t too easy to throw track or bog down, but for gaming purposes I’m likely to make the odds favor the terrain to discourage players from racing through swamps.