Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Experiment - Ebony Dip!

I'm going with samurai-bot as opposed to guy in powered armor.
The sword isn't quite right, though.

The experiment was concerning "the Dip". Yes, I dip. Deal with it. At least they're getting painted. Anywho, I like using ebony dip for mechanicals. Sometimes the only way to get a contrast is to use black instead of brown. I'm lookin' at you, monks. Yes, there are "dips" available for painting figures already mixed, and they also are far too expensive when compared to Minwax Polyshades at the local DIY shop. The old jar dried out a few months ago, so it was high time to mix another batch. The problem was, the usual ebony was out of stock, so just the "regular" ebony stain was available. Remember that black oil that was inside Krycek on the X-Files? Darker and nastier than that. After trying various ratios and sacrificing some disposable clickies for the cause, a 1 ebony to 12 clear concoction seemed to do the trick.

<< Figure >> 

The base was inscribed with "TALON GAMES © 1999". Talon Games produced some rather cool miniatures, then - as far as I know - went out of business. Shame. Some of their dragon robots are in the collection. It's probably a human in armor, but a robot seems more appealing to me. 

<< Painting >> 

Wash the figure, file off the flash, and mount on 1" diameter, 1/8" thick MDF disk. Putty, then apply sand/ballast/water/PVA glue slurry. Prime white.

Figure: red with neutral gray for the armor. Neutral gray for the sword blade, then black ink for the spine, red for the rest. Yellow ocher, then gold for the medallion on the helmet.

Base: medium gray. Red, then trim with black ink for the facing lozenge.  

Finally dip with mixture described above, flock with clumps of dead grass, then spray with clear matte sealer.

<< End 104 >> 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

RavenFeast: Weregeld (Optional Rules – W.I.P.)

Tried something new this week - each player was given 7 “coins”, which were plastic bingo chips spray painted silver.

Players should start off with the same number of coins. Agree to the amount before the game starts. The coins are considered to be in the possession of the figure representing the leader of each player’s force.

If the leader is killed in such a way (like missile fire) that his figure is not in the clutches of the enemy, the figure with the next highest morale - preferably a hero or the highest point value - gets the coins. Yes, they just magically appear in his purse. If it happens in melee, the player must maintain possession of the corpse to retain the coins.

Any unspent coins may be looted from a figure by an opponent if it is killed or captured. Place the coins next to the figure. At this point the coins are in limbo and may not be spent by anyone. It takes an entire turn of another figure standing next to it doing nothing else – no movement, missile, melee, etc. – to search the body for the coins. Once this is done, they become the property of the other leader, and may be used normally in the current battle.

Dragon’s Curse (Even More Optional)
The figure that successfully searched the opposing figure for coins must pass a morale roll or flee completely off the table with the coins. The figure counts as killed and the coins are removed from play. The warband’s current leader is immune to the curse and does not need to make a morale roll.

Modify Rolls
The coins could be used to modify player’s rolls of their own dice, effectively improving one stat for that roll. More than one coin could be used at a time, but the coins had to be paid before the roll was made. It could have been used for any die roll; even the initiative roll (in this case lowering the final result by one for each coin spent). Using a coin this way removed it from play. As a roll of “6” was an automatic failure, most of the coins were spent on troops with stats of 4 and below.

Ransoms and Bribes
The coins could also be used to bribe the opposing side. Say your jarl has just taken his third hit. You could offer coins to his attacker to spare his life. These coins could then be used by the attacker in the current battle to modify rolls or, later, bribe the opponent to spare one of his warband. There isn’t a set value for each figure’s ransom, so it’s up the players to haggle. The attacker can always decline the offer, and things carry on as normal.

If accepted, coins change hands and the figure that was spared is treated as if it has just failed a morale roll: it immediately makes a full move towards its starting side of the table and it must pass the next turn’s rally roll. It is not the target of free attacks. If it flees off the table or fails its rally roll, it counts as a kill. Any coins it still had in its possession are removed from the game. If figure stays on the table, the player who accepted the ransom is under no obligation to treat it differently from any other opposing figure. Yes, you can shoot it full of arrows or hack it to bits.

Another function of the coins could be to buy “mercenaries”. If there are an odd number of players in the game, both sides bid for the loyalty of the last warband. The overall leader of each side secretly places a number of coins in his hand. Other players on each side may add to their leader’s bid. The leaders reveal the amounts simultaneously. The mercenary warband must fight for the highest bidder. The coins of the winning bidder are removed from the game. The losing bidder keeps his coins. The mercenary has no coins of his own at the start of the game. The overall leader may use his coins for the benefit of the mercenary’s rolls during the game – at the leader’s discretion.

Tie Breaker
If a game ends in a tie, the side with the most coins left wins. Spend wisely.

Physical Representation
It doesn't have to be coins. Hack silver (chopped up silver jewelry) or other bits of treasure could work just as well.

Yes, it does change the game a bit, but not dramatically. At least, not that we've seen. Yet. These rules are optional, and may be used in their entirety, in part, or not at all. Or use everything, but have only a few coins per player. The less of it there is, the more its worth.

If you give it a try, please post a comment or link below!

<< Links >>


<< END 103 >>

Friday, September 6, 2013

Got a Few Things Done!

It’s amazing what can get accomplished when the humidity finally gets below 50%!  

Yes, there will be posts with more details in the near future, but here’s what was completed today: two 28mm robots and ten space stations. Most of this stuff has been collecting dust for several years – the red samurai robot is out of production! Or is it a guy in powered armor? It was by Talon Games for their Cry H.A.V.I.C. game.

The space stations are for SUNDER THE STARS! Yes, the space station rules will finally go into playtesting. Woot! Woot, I say! 

Also managed to prep and prime 8 flight bases for TACSHIP, along with a few more Post Apocalyptic 28mm figures.

<< END 102 >>

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It Takes a Gamer to Build a Really, Really Small Village: Part 2

  Mockup A-Frame Hut!

Having decided on a basic size for the A-frame hut, a mockup was needed to see how it would look when populated and how much useable space was available inside. Admittedly, most occupants wouldn’t be swinging their weapons over their heads the entire time, a small fire pit would be needed in the middle of the floor, and a ¼” would be lost on each side due to the building material, so some fudging was in order.

End Walls: 6” long by ½” high at the ends, 3 1/3” high at the gables.
Side Walls: 6” long by ½” high.

Poster board was used as it was cheap and already in stock, as was PVA glue.

A fight of 14 figures (mounted on 1” square bases) could be held inside a 3” x 5” area centered on the roof beam and subtracting 1 square inch for the fire pit. If they were all hiding in ambush, then 24 would fit. Internal walls and other structures will not be attempted on the first go.

It's a good size for a landowner, but smaller huts will also be needed for the less affluent villagers. 

<< END 101 >>

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


But only because he flew away really, really quickly.

Ran a game of TACSHIP because I was curious how it played, and it would be easier to teach than Void Racers. It’s a space fighter game written in 1992 by Jon Tuffley – best known for Ground Zero Games, Full Thrust, and Dirtside. The rules are not complex, and can be played on a hex mat or open table. It’s a generic set of rules that have enough to get you going. You can stat up some craft that somewhat resemble something seen on TV or at the movies, but it requires you to squint a bit. Unfortunately, terrain rules were absent. Yes, space is big, mostly empty, and objects are very far apart, but a few items would have been nice. 

Having recently finished painting some excellent Studio Bergstrom 1” fighters, I wrote up some stats at equal point values per fighter, loaded up the bag, and headed off to the club.

Cobra Mk 1
Total Thrust: 9 (9)
Damage Track: 10 (10)
Survivability Modifier: +2 (2)
Front Fixed Lasers: 2x Laser 2 (4)
Turrets: None (0)
Hard Points: 3 (6)
Total Points: 31

Tarantula Interceptor
Total Thrust: 9 (9)
Damage Track: 10 (10)
Survivability Modifier: +0 (0)
Front Fixed Lasers: 2x Laser 2 (4)
Turrets: None (0)
Hard Points: 4 (8)
Total Points: 31

Total Thrust: how many thrust points the fighter can generate per turn. Points may be spent to accelerate/decelerate before each turn’s movement, and any unused thrust can be used for turning while moving.

Damage Track: hit points, though damage is assigned at a randomly rolled point on the damage track. If damage goes past the right-most box on the track, the fighter has suffered a critical hit and is destroyed regardless of how many boxes are left unchecked

Survivability Modifier: the number added to the damage assignment roll. This represents how resilient the fighter is.

Front Fixed Lasers: at any time during its movement, a fighter may stop and shoot all its front fixed lasers at one target. Roll the distance in hexes from attacker to target, or greater, on a D20. Apply any damage immediately. If the fighter has a turret, they may stop and shoot at the same target or at a different time during the same move, or even at another target.

Hard Points: places to carry missiles, mines, and decoys. No matter how many hardpoints a fighter might have, only a maximum of 2 may be armed and ready to fire (after movement is completed) in one turn.

<< The Sides >>

The Meatbags


Starbuck and Apollo (played by Zak),
and Boomer with Jolly (played by Steve, of Hachiman's Toy Chest fame).


The Appliances

001, 010, 011, and 100.

Commanded your humble author.

Yes, the rules are simple enough to allow first-time players to run multiple fighters.

<< The Setup >>

Partway through the first turn.

An expanse of space cluttered with asteroids. Simple rules: asteroids block line of sight and attacks. Enter a hex with a rock, the fighter is destroyed.

The scenario was a simple meeting engagement with the goal of annihilating the other side. Each ship had a starting current velocity of 9, and the forces were deployed at the center of the opposite long edges of the table.

Before the game, I changed the initiative roll from 1D6 to 1D6 + current velocity. This gives a wider range of values (less ties which then had to be rolled off), and going faster than your opponents improves your chances of going before them. Also, fighters may pass through hexes/spaces occupied by other fighters, but may not end their movement in the same hex with another fighter. Fighters do not block line of sight or attacks.

D20’s for noting initiative next to each fighter and making laser attacks.
D6’s for rolling initiative and determining damage of missiles and mines.
D10’s to note from one turn to the next how many of the required straight hex moves between turns were done.

<< The Game >>

The Meatbags ventured forth aggressively, accelerating to engage their mortal foe: the Appliances - which just brought them under the lasers of the Appliances that much sooner. During the first turn, actually. Most of the action took place on the Appliance’s side of the table, so their Tarantula fighters decelerated a bit to have cheaper turns and more thrust available for maneuvering through the cluttered battlefield.

The Meatbags swooped half their Cobras around to the side, while the rest flew straight across. A Tarantula was soon vaporized, but the constant pounding of laser fire was taking its toll on the both sides.

Boomer was soon taken out by enemy lasers.

Jolly got a missile off only to suffer some damage from an Appliance mine which claimed Apollo. Then Jolly got too close to the missile’s target. The cold and methodical Appliance in its heavily damaged Tarantula calculated that it would be impossible to outrun the missile, so it made the only logical choice: come to a complete stop, use its last thrust point to bring his lasers to bear, and shoot Jolly. If the attack failed, the launcher of its demise would also be caught in the blast effects of the nuclear warhead’s detonation.  

The hail of laser bolts (yeah, it’s the ‘70’s) annihilated Jolly’s Cobra! Now only the missile had to be detonated. Zak rolled a 1 on 1D6, inflicting only 1 point of damage on the Tarantula’s damage track. It survived!

Starbuck, having watched the ruthlessly efficient deletion of his friends, dumped all his thrust points into acceleration and exited his side of the table before the Appliances have any hope of catching him.

<< End of Game >>

Elapsed time, from explaining the rules to end of game: about 90 minutes.

One Meatbag fled the field, 60% intact.

Three Appliances were still on the table, at 100%, 40%, and 20% intact.

Appliance Victory!

Only 1 missile (Meatbags) and 1 mine (Appliances) had been launched.

<< Thoughts >>

There were a lot of victorious fly-throughs of the victims’ explosions - just like in 1978.

With the rules as they are, I wouldn’t bother with missiles on a cluttered table like we had. Mines would have been much more entertaining. Missiles require a bit more room to use.

First laser shots were fired at a range of 13 hexes. Laser fire could easily reach over ½ the table width, if not for the asteroids blocking Line of Sight.

Laser shots made at point blank (1 hex) were automatic hits – that rankles some folks.

Steve said that the game was more fighting speedboats than star fighters - had to agree with him, there.

Yet it can be tweaked just enough to be a good convention and club game, where time is often limited and quick, easy rules are appreciated. There are more detailed space fighter games out there (I was writing one, own a few, and have played a few more) but the “detail vs. playability” balance is quite good. Naturally, a 3D version would be very cool, but that would include more record keeping, and more arithmetic. Math doesn’t go over too well with mildly inebriated convention attendees or gamers pressed for time. It could use some mods, though. Yep, some mods would be really nice about now.

Oh, look!

<< Mods >>

Below are some ideas that may be implemented at the next as-of-yet-to-be-scheduled game. Feel free to experiment and post your results in the comments, below!

> Fighter Design:

360° Turret - Cost of laser weapon(s) + 2 points per laser.
Example: a 360° turret with 2x Laser 1 would cost 2 for the Laser 1s, and another 4 for the +2 points per laser weapon for a total of 6. Expensive, but can shoot in any direction. All lasers in a particular turret must fire at the same target at the same time. Approved!
> Terrain:

Gas Cloud: A +1 to attack’s range per hex/inch the attack must travel through. Approved!

Dust Cloud: A +2 to attack’s range per hex/inch the attack must travel through. Approved!

Asteroid Field: A +2 to attack’s range per hex/inch the attack must travel through. Each hex/inch flown through by a fighter requires
a piloting check: fighter player rolls a D20, and an opponent defends the honour of the asteroid by rolling another D20.
If the fighter player rolls equal to or higher than the asteroid player, the fighter flies on.
If the asteroid player rolls higher than the fighter player, the fighter takes 1D3 damage. Approved!

Big Asteroids, Stationary: Blocks line-of-sight, so not attacks my pass through a hex/space occupied by a big asteroid. A fighter may try to fly though the hex/space occupied by the big asteroid: fighter player rolls a D20, and an opponent rolls another D20 for the big asteroid.
If the fighter player rolls equal to or higher than the asteroid player, the fighter flies on.
If the asteroid player rolls higher than the fighter player, the fighter takes 1D6 damage. Approved!

Big Asteroids, Moving: All the rules of the big asteroid, above, except that at the end of each turn it moves its current velocity (1D3 + 3) in a single direction (across to the opposite side of the table, roll off if two possible directions fulfill that requirement), both of which are determined pre-game, and remain the same for the entire game. If big asteroids collide, they maintain their current velocity, but roll randomly for their new directions. If it hits a moon or larger body, the big asteroid is removed from play. Anything “smaller” (gas and dust clouds, or asteroid fields), and the big asteroid just moves through it, neither terrain item being effected.

The ability to fly “through” a hex/space containing a big asteroids gives it a bit more of a 3D feel.

> Movement:

Sideslip – The fighter moves into either the forward-left or forward-right hex/space and maintains its facing; basically just changing with row of hexes it’s in without turning twice. It follows the same rules, thrust point costs, and restrictions as turns.

Hard Reversal – May only be attempted if fighter’s current velocity is at or under its thrust points. Fighter may not have changed its current velocity this turn. Move the fighter half its current velocity in hexes/inches then stop, and turn it so it is facing the opposite direction. The fighter maintains its current velocity; it’s just facing, and moving, the opposite direction. This uses all the fighter’s thrust points this turn, so acceleration, deceleration, or any turns are not allowed.
> Combat:

D10 Ranges/Rolling – Using a D10 instead of a D20 for combat rolls, this also means that 10 hexes is the maximum range for all lasers. One could just as easily use a D6 or a D12 if it gives the game you want. Approved! 

Rule of One – A to-hit roll of “1” is always a miss no matter what the range of the laser attack.

<< Thanks >>

Thanks to Zak and Steve for playing and tossing around ideas afterwards.

A special “thank you” for “Toaster” on Space Combat News for his Tacship posts!

<< Links >>

TACSHIP by Jon Tuffly at The Society of Fantasy and Science Fiction Wargamers (SFSFW) -

Studio Bergstrom: 1” Fighter Ships -

Hatchiman’s Toy Chest -

Starship Combat News -

<< END 100 >>

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Mission Objective & Navigation Hazard!

The first of the space-based facilities completed for SUNDER THE STARS! This is intended as a medium-sized factory station. Due to environmental protection laws in the SUNDER THE STARS universe, it’s cheaper to build a factory in space than on a planet. It also saves on transport costs – no gravity well to muck about in.

It’s an old Superior Models space station module. Only took 30 years to get its turn in the painting queue. Heavy sucker, too. Get a shiny, new one from Monday Knight Productions!

The base is a 2” disk of ¼” MDF custom made by CorSec Engineering, and they did a wonderful job. It has been my experience that acrylic flight stands have two states: 1) broken, and 2) desperately waiting to break. MDF bases with piano wire posts are nigh-indestructible, and it will still be intact when the flour beetles inherit the Earth. When I open my figure case, I want to have the joy of anticipation of playing a game with a collection of painted miniatures, not the trepidation of “how many broke THIS time?” Piano wire also allowed for an off-center post, necessitated by the figure’s hollow center. Wire can bend without breaking.


Station: spray gray primer, then a base coat of neutral gray. A 2:1 water and black ink wash, then a drybrushing of neutral gray. Details picked out with silver, metallic blue, and bronze.

Flight Stand: spray primed black, then a coat of spray black enamel, followed by flat black paint. I find that bases tend to take the majority of abuse.

After gluing the station and flight stand together, they were dipped in clear polyurethane, and then sprayed with clear matte.

<< LINKS >>

Monday Knight Productions -

CorSec Engineering -  

<< END 099 >>

Friday, May 24, 2013


Please forgive the Kickstarter plug.

Mekton is back! The original mecha anime tabletop RPG is back!

While so many gamers were plodding around the battlefield, micromanaging heat output of a couple of walking tanks in that other game in the mid-1980’s*, the rest of us were recreating what we saw on Mazinger, Gundam, Macross, Dougram, Votoms, Escaflowne, Five Star Stories, or any number of other mecha anime worlds with Mekton. And, unlike some other, more well know RPGs, Mekton kept getting better with each new edition!

Mekton was always a great mecha anime wargame wrapped in a very good RPG. This time, Mekton Zero will be a specifically designed to work as a wargame as well as an RPG. Mekton Zero is also designed to be compatible with Mekton Zeta, so you can port over your characters and mecha. And there will be new miniatures.

Yes, it’s a Kickstarter, but Mr. Pondsmith and R. Talsorian Games have been making tabletop RPGs for over 30 years; classics like Castle Falkenstein, Teenagers from Outer Space, Cyberpunk, and series specific games like Bubblegum Crisis and V.O.T.O.M.S.

From the Kickstarter page:

”What about previous editions?

    Zero is based on same systems as Mekton Zeta and Zeta +

    Build your own Mekton using Zeta and Zeta+ and use it in the Zero setting.

    Play as a role-playing game

    Play as a squad based tabletop wargame

    Play in customized arena combat.

What's next?

    New gaming miniatures for Mekton Zero.

        New mecha figures

        New hero character figures

        Giant alien beast and monster figures

    Follow-on books with new mecha for factions in the Zero setting

    New and interesting hero/villain characters

    Novels and manga planned to support the RPG.

    Future online world and video games being developed”

Give it a look. If it’s for you, then become a backer.

As of this posting, it’s 67% funded – in less that 48 hours of being live.

Update:  69% funded, $13,900 pledged, 28 days to go!

Update:  83% funded, $16,685 pledged, 28 days to go!

Aw, heck. Here's the automatically updating widget:

*  Please note: there’s nothing wrong with plodding around the battlefield, micromanaging heat output of a couple of walking tanks, but it didn’t do on the table what the mecha did on the TV screen – which is what got me interested in gaming giant, stompy robots to begin with!

<< UPDATE >>

I have no idea what happened to this project. The last official word was back in March of 2014. Rumors abound. It's sad that this happened to my favorite RPG. But Mekton Zeta is still available as a PDF download (and of this posting - on discount!) from Drive Thru RPG.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It Takes a Gamer to Build a Really, Really Small Village: Part 1

Foamboard, MDF bases, and fake fur: the stuff of legends. 

This will log the efforts of trying to build a small “Viking” village for 28mm skirmish gaming. 

Started semi-serious planning of this project recently. Wandered around online and decided that timber A-frame huts with thatched rooves were period and quite common. Yes, the historical wargamer is slipping out. Get used to it. Fear naught: during this time it was believed that the world was flat, magic was real, and all sorts of monsters roamed the Earth. There will be dragons as well as dragonships in my games. But that will be later. 

Found some 6” x 6” and a 6” x 12” piece of MDF board in the hoard, so those shall be the bases for smaller huts and a longhouse. Yes, they might be a bit on the large side, but the figures will fit more easily inside. The rooves will be removable so that figures and other goodies may be secreted within; which brought up the subject of roofing material. 

Again, roving around the interwebz found some serviceable examples of model thatching done with fake fur, but no tutorials. Posted a query on a miniature wargaming site about it which produced many helpful suggestions, as well as attempts from folks who were determined to seduce me with the power and glory of cotton towels soaked in PVA. Almost half the thread was devoted to dishtowels, and some of the posters were very grumpy about it. Saw the examples posted and they looked unappetizing, so, unswayed, I moved on. To each their own, fellas. 

Having built a few buildings and ruins before, the project doesn’t seem that difficult, though thatching will be a new skill to develop. It seems pretty straight forward, though the finishing will dwell more in the realm of art than science. Experimentation shall take place on the huts, with the conclusions executed on the longhouse. We shall see.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vikings are the New Pirates!

Remember a few years back when Pirates of the Caribbean movies were all the rage? In the microcosm of miniature wargaming, piratical miniature battles also gained additional table-love. Like many, I painted a small band when one of the local groups started a skirmish campaign using Legends of the High Seas.

And now it’s time for the Vikings to take center stage! How do I know this? 

  • Several sets of Dark Ages/Vikings rules have been or shall soon be released, and even some older ones re-released.
  • New Viking figures are being produced in metal and plastic.
  • The History Channel has a scripted miniseries on the topic: Vikings. *UPDATE*: A second season of 10 episodes has been ordered!
  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010) - a CGI children's movie about Vikings with Scottish accents learning to live with dragons - spawned a successful TV show, Dragons: Riders of Berk, and a second movie is in the works for release in 2014. 
  • Inexpensive lots of Viking miniatures have disappeared from eBay and other online markets, only to be replaced by packs of new figures at retail prices or unimpressively painted, used armies.
  • The cover of the flyer from the Miniature Figure Collectors of America has Vikings on the cover.

Coincidence? I think not!

I’m quite happy about this because it’s always been a period of interest, with four painted warbands already in the collection. Yes, being ahead of a miniature wargaming trend is an odd experience.

Modified a set of simple rules for Viking skirmishing a couple years back that are fun, fast and FREE: RAVENFEAST - newly updated, version 1.2. Sample stats that are given were designed for ease of play at conventions, but rules for designing your own troops are included. Remember: these are not the legions of Rome; they’re Scandinavian farmers behaving badly!

I was fortunate enough to run a driftage rights skirmish at the local club a couple weeks back which inspired painting another two basic warbands (in the works) and then expanding them all. Also need to make up a serviceable farmstead for raiding and burning.

Any suggestions on a good online how-to for thatched rooves on wargaming buildings?

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

VOID RACERS: the Second Playtest!

And this is slightly after where we all made it through the first gate and promptly flew off the edge of the mat!

Got together with a few members of the local club and had another go at Void Racers. And, boy!, did we go. Right off the mat. Inertia does, indeed, fight you both tooth and nail. 

This was a four player game around a new course: a simple loop with 3 numbered gates. As can be seen in the photo at the top, a few gas clouds were added to grant cover but not imperil movement as they act like stationary, perpetual smoke clouds.

All 4 racers made it out of the starting gate at maximum acceleration. The next turn we all crossed the firing line; mayhem ensued. So far, so good.

Here's where the education started. It had been discovered that speed was a form of cover, so going faster (at least twice as fast as your nearest opponent) was better than going slower. Everyone increased their speed. We all blasted through the first gate.

It was at this point that Newton bitch-slapped us. Unable to generate enough thrust - or temporarily unable to control our racers due to a critical hit - we discovered that the universe may be infinite, but felt game mats are not. Eventually, we made it back on course (see what I did there?) and dropped our speeds. 

Then the body-count started to climb. Weapons fire and critical hits took their toll on our racers. By the passing of the third gate, there was only one racer left.

Things learned:

Like all proper, old school wargames, clipboards were required!

There was the desirable effect of players having to choose between lining up an attack, or favorably positioning themselves for their next movement phase.

The race course will be surrounded by a energy barrier that allows errant racers to return to the race though at very low speeds. Have to see if this will be abused.

The dogfighting aspect of the game seems to be working, but the racing portion still need some tweaking, as it's proving far too deadly. Simple solution: there will be two levels of play - racing and dogfighting. Instead of inflicting damage, racing will use the same rules and weapons for combat, but the damage will be nonlethal and short-lived. Thrust points instead of structure points will be lost for a turn, and critical hits will temporarily disable random systems. Combat will still have a part in the race, but racing shall be what wins the game.

And, yes, we're still using counters. The miniatures are on the assembly table.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Sample Work In Progress Racer Play Sheet.

Fear all the little blanks that need to be filled in! Well, not really.

Welcome back!

The top third of the sheet is where all the information about the racer goes: thrust points, modifiers, places to track damage, etc. The gray box in the center is for listing weapons, with range, ammo, and any "to Hit" modifiers and spacial rules. Those familiar with MEKA TAC - GIANT STOMPY ROBOT EDITION will notice a similarity with that game's mecha sheets.

The rest of the sheet is for tracking your racer's movement across the table each turn. As the racer's movement during the previous turn has a effect of how it may move this turn, this information needs to be recorded. Each turn has its own line.

Initiative = last turn's speed + modifiers + die roll. The higher the score, the earlier in the turn your racer activates. This is a racing game; speed is good.

TP (Thrust Points) Spent: It's a spot to jot down the number of thrust points used in the current activation. Each racer has a finite number of them, and unspent thrust points cannot be saved for later use.

Vector: This is where the shorthand notation (usually one or two pairs of a letter and a number) of where you'll end up at the end of this activation, and where you'll end up next activation if thrust points are not used. Movement is based from where you'll end up if the racer does nothing, not from where the racer starts its activation. Momentum is a cruel mistress, so plan ahead.

Speed: The number of hexes the racer enters during its activation. This is the path from where the racer starts its activation to where it ends its activation. Do not count any turns, only movement through hexes.

Facing: The racer's final facing at the end of its activation, or latest facing, as certain factors may force a change the racer's facing outside of its activation. Thrust comes out the back of a racer, so where it's pointed is important.

VOID RACERS is MEKA TAC - GIANT STOMPY ROBOT EDITION with a slightly more complex movement system. More about that next posting.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Void Racers Mini Playtest #1

Furball at the First Gate, End of Second Turn.

Had a quick playtest this weekend. As it was just one game of several others planned, it ended up only lasting a few turns. We had 4 independent players, while I refereed.
The players were experienced gamers, but not regular wargamers, so their gameplay was very educational.   

The VOID RACERS Playtest Course.

The map above was the intended course, but on a small table. The players easily grasped most of the mechanics, though the movement system took a little experience to master.


The players didn't gracefully swoop around the bottom of Gate 1 to get to Gate 2; that would have impeded shooting the crap out of each other. They passed through the first gate, then burned their thrust points to immediately go back through in the other direction. As they had all passed through the gate in the correct way, there was nothing lost by going back through the other way. It's space; you can do that.

Area effect weapons are very, very messy in close quarters.

Bigger play areas are preferred, as there is greater opprotunity for maneuvering out of weapons' range.

The game is doing what was envisioned, so work shall continue.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

More Void Racers

Preview of a Sample VOID RACERS Race Course Carousel.

Racing is the core of VOID RACERS. Okay, racing while shooting at the other racers is the core of VOID RACERS. I mean, who would pay perfectly good credits just to watch a bunch of vehicles making continuous left-hand turns for hours on end without any weapons-fire? Booooring.

Race Course Basics: 

The orange line with arrows shows the intended flow of the course. The course above is "once through"; no laps.

The red line is the firing line. A racer's weapons are locked until it passes that point in the course. After that, weapons are hot and crowd goes wild! And there is nothing stopping the pilot from shooting at the slowpokes who still have their weapons locked.

The lines with circles at the ends are gates that the racer must pass though. They represent a pair of stationary buoys marking the location and size of the gate. A racer may need to pass though the same gate more than once in a race, and not necessarily in the same direction.

The green gate is the starting gate. Racers must start the race behind it and pass through it to enter the course. 

The three blue, numbered gates represent narrow areas the racers must pass through in a particular direction and order. Going through the wrong way or in the wrong sequence does not count towards course completion. Note that one gate is labeled "1 & 4", meaning that the racers must pass though it twice - when entering and exiting the loop portion of the course.

The black gate is the finish line. Again, a racer must pass in between the buoys to finish the course.

The first racer that finishes the course wins the race.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Preview of VOID RACERS counter sheet.

I've been working on a space racing game titled VOID RACERS. It's based on Meka Tac - Giant Stompy Robots Edition, but uses a quasi-Newtonian, 2-D movement system on a hex grid. A racer's movement is carried over to the next turn. The direction and speed does not change unless the pilot applies thrust to change where it's going during the movement phase of its activation. Players are encouraged to build their own racers, which are basically space fighters. Rules for designing race courses and a campaign system will be included. The game can be used for space fighter dogfights, as well. Though intended as a miniature wargame, enough counters will be included to play without figures. It should handle up to 12 players, but that will be determined in play-testing - which will begin soon.