Tuesday, November 23, 2021

AAR: What a tanker (1st game)

4 corners type setup...eventually 2 more gamers showed
 Largely my gaming has had the crimp put on it by my young children (1.5, and 4.5). Besides the fatigue and time sink (big big time sink) involved with raising kids I don't feel great about abandoning my wife to manage two children for most of a day. It's hard when it happens to me so golden rule.....



Fortunately this weekend, one of the newer local gamers hosted "what a tanker" which is super easy to drop in/out of and it turns out he lived mere blocks away! I carved out 2 hours of daddy time (entirely thanks to the wife) to try out the (new to me) ruleset.



Soviets rushing forward. Already one Sherman brewed first turn
Each player took a single tank from Nick's 15mm collection. People trickled in so the rules were explained about 3 times before we started and in a most auspicious sign, everyone took pretty reasonable vehicles despite the numerous Tigers, Kingtigers, Jadzpanthers, IS-2's and SU-whatever is huge with a big gun in the box.  We saw a soviet Sherman, T34 (without the upgraded gun), Stug4, Su-76 (tank destroyer), panzer 4, and a marder. All largely 'mid war' stuff. 

Panzer 4 hiding in the trees still ends up taking heavy fire

What a Tanker has the active player roll 6 dice, and each dice result allows you to conduct different actions. Move, acquire, aim, fire, reload, and a wild die. Various tank abilities let you convert one of your dice into a set result (like fast lets you convert to a move, tank destroyer to an aim). The hilarity of the game is you often don't get the full spectrum of dice you need, so you are able to move to position, acquire and aim at the target but for some damned reason, your crew just can't seem to get that shell down range. This largely matches the friction of war and makes planning pretty challenging. Given the wild die and abilities you are often able to do *something* useful, even if it isn't turning your opponents into piles of flaming wreckage. 



A Sherman ices by Stug who was otherwise distracted


Target rolls are civilized (base 6+ to hit within a couple of feet) with a moderate number of bonuses/penalties, all of which are a single point change (aiming per dice used, obscured, each obstacle in the way, long range, target is small, etc). Once you hit there is another first full of dice rolled for the attacker it's 'strike' and the defender 'armour'. You are looking for 5+ (in most cases) and compare the difference in number of successes for the result of the hit. A great roll will see your opponent brew up immediately, but more often there is a steady loss of function (loss of command dice, and reduced effectiveness of actions). 



I was around for 2 hours which included set up, 3 rounds of rules explanations, and about 5 turns with 6 people. We had 3 tanks brewed up already, and I'm reliably informed that it got bloodier as it went on. The table was certainly sparse terrain wise, but it makes sense for an intro game. Russian steppe or something. I appreciate the ease with which a knocked out player can re-enter the game, and how simple the basic mechanics are to grok. Definitely a good ruleset to break out for beer and pretzels or a fun fun convention game. I'm not sure how it's make out for people who care about the actual results and a campaign system but what do I know, I've only played once for 2 hours. 

I'll tank this one as a play again.

A nice clean side shot on that T34 distracted me from the git in the woods

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Resin *USED* to be a pain to clean

 While trolling through my pictures on my phone I realized I have something useful to share! I generally try and avoid resin as I find the cleaning process both annoying, toothbrush scrubs in hot water in every nook and cranny, but also a bit fraught; I have some resin terrain that obviously wasn't cleaned properly and the paint flaked off in a heart breaking way. I DEFINITIVELY don't want to waste my time painting and have it drift off the fig when gently rubbed.

 I have, however, slowly built up a collection of cool minis that just don't come in plastic or metal. Winter usually spells the time when I pull out my stash and realize I need to do the soapy hot water bath, lay out tons of dishtowels for drying, and suffer some serious sore back and feet from the poor ergonomics involved. UNTIL NOW!

Somehow I stumbled on a youtube video talking about the magic of ultrasonic cleaners for resin. Now ultrasonic cleaners are getting cheaper and more accessible and are marketed usually for cleaning jewellery, glasses and other things with small hard to access nooks and crannies. The video was largely about the revelation, communicated to the host by others, about using one to clean forge world minis. Now I don't own forge world stuff because I don't poop golden eggs, but I do have a bunch of resin I don't want to use elbow grease on. 

A short bit of research and crossing my finger that my amazon purchase doesn't suck and I now own an ultrasonic cleaner. Work flow generally involves an electric kettle to bring up the temp on the water faster (the cleaner has a built in heater which is a bit weak sauce), lots of detergent, about 3-4 minutes of buzzing, and trying not to lose any bits down the sink as I rinse the final product. HUGE time and effort savings. My hands and fingers usually end up a bit scorched as I try to fish out bits that slip out of the gaps in the basket but I'm most happy with the results. 

I've also earned points with the wifey by being able to clean her jewellry. Win.

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Quiet Year: Communal Map Drawing Game pt 1

Most of my gaming these days is restricted to roleplaying games. In the age of infants and covid it's just so much less overhead to meet up on the internet by voice and crack out a couple hours of gaming while still able to respond to child 'events'.  We failed to get quorum the other night so a trio of us tried out "The Quiet Year". It's a communal game where the players (2-4) are driven to create a map and story with the use of a deck of cards and the emergent properties of their decisions. 


You each take a turn, representing a week, to draw a card/event/question, resolve it and then choose an action (Start a project, discover something new, hold a discussion). Interestingly player discussion is very limited....you need to use an action to "hold a discussion" (call a council/moot/poll/whatever) to hear what the other players (representing voices of the community) think. But each only gets to have about 2 sentence statements. This means each player really gets a lot of autonomy about where the game/community is trending. I don't want to suggest this is a silent game, there is still chatting, laughter, gasps of surprise. It's just the other players need to hold themselves back from offering suggestions from the active player. 


The game was fun enough that I thought I'd do a writeup. We only made it about half way through, but I'm very much looking forward to the conclusion.....things have just really gone sideways. We started off with each making a statement about the map: It was an island, in an archipelago, riddled with tunnels. We each decided on one important resources: food, sunlight, and archeotech (ancient technology/materiel/metal resource/knowledge). In a group we decided which one would be in abundance (archeotech) while the others are in scarcity. Then off we went flipping cards and spinning the weeks by....