Thursday, April 20, 2023

Typhoon paint racks

 I finally got sick and tired of all my paints being in a large plastic drawer......and then progressively spread out with different painting projects. While it was 'loosely' organized, I though it was time to do better. And also find the duplicate paints and ones I didn't need anymore.

I hunted a lot of racks and it largely came down to:

 1/. fit the space I had

 2/. Had a high number of paints per size (high density)

 3/. I could see the actual paint colours (some racks have the lids tipped to you which doesn't help much with dropper style). 



 Typhoon racks seemed my best bet so I pulled the trigger. I even fit (almost) all my paints on them. I'm pondering getting another rack though it's probably like storage space in most houses....if you have it then it will be filled up.





The racks were pretty simple to assemble. A bit snug in a couple of the slot/hole openings. They are quite light. The wood has a fair bit of spring to it...which worries me at times. I suspect MDF would be more robust but would probably store less do to the multiplier of increases the size of each level by 1-2mm.

It's definitely made it easier for me to hunt down similar colours in a family to choose what I want. 


Thursday, April 13, 2023

Remember the Alamo and property rights! AAR TSR modified boardgame to table top minis

The main event for Dougs trip over the Georgia Strait was the Saturday game, hosted by Nate, for the Alamo. He is prepping it for a convention in April (Trumpeter in Vancouver, BC). The skeleton of the game is lifted from a venerable board game (with cardboard tokens, none of the fancy plastic stuff back in MY day of wargaming *grumble grumble) by TSR.The fort is a beauty and really made the game I think. 



Combat is roll 1d6 and add your melee/shooting modifier. No effect, Drive back (variable distance), and Wounds are all about equal. Two wounds remove a fig. Cannon throw extra dice with a good bonus (and long range). Troops at the bottom of walls can't be hit by the cannon. 


The barricaded gate. Mexicans don't have enough troops here.


There is some complicated process of melee at the top of the ladders....complicated in the sense that it happened a few times and fast and I didn't pick up on the nuances. Just roll a bunch of melee attacks. By the time this is happening it's bad news for the Texans. 



Coming from 2 sides against the corner they have enough troops here...
Morale is simplistic, once the Mexicans hit certain threshold amounts of casualties without gaining the walls they will fall back to summon their nerve for another push. Historically it was on their third go (I think) that they got over the walls. The rules seem to generate victory for the Texans a lot (what a surprise as TSR was based in Austin) some small tweaks were made in the Mexicans favor. 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Blood Red Skies AAR: First impressions

The elusive Doug in his element
Back in late February when the powers of darkness were still ascendant (hail to the spring!) Doug came over for a gaming weekend. Friday night we went over to Garrets house for some beer and pretzels gaming and to try out Blood Red Skies, by Warlord Games. In a shameful display of winter hibernation I'm only getting this pictures up to the blog now. Oh well.....

We started with Doug and I getting an orientation game with Garret counseling us.  3 vs 3 planes (Germans vs Americans I believe). The rules are simple enough to make sense within two or three turns. The end of the mission typically comes from loss of nerve/confidence/morale rather than shooting down all the fighters. This is a good thing as lots of games of swoopy planes can DRAGGGGGG. Morale is lost everytime the enemy gets a good line on you and manages to fire on you. The shooting resolution is via fists full of dice and looking for fairly high numbers (I think successes are on a 6). The early war planes have much lower offensive dice pools so it's actually pretty hard to splash your opponent.

The bases are pretty clever with a tilt built into the stem. Nose up is advantage, level is neutral, and down is disadvantage. Pilot skill tells you who moves first, followed by (dis)advantage, and then finally actual airplane max speed. It rarely gets to that point. 

As actions you can choose to gain advantage, maneuver (which tries to force your enemy within a certain range 'down' in advantage), or shoot. You can only shoot someone with less advantage than you. You can only take out a plane that is disadvantaged (I think otherwise it's forced lower still). So you end up with team work to hit the enemy by 'maneurvering' to lower it's advantage rating, and then a wingman to clean him up. I think this is the only mildly jarring aspect of the game to me: it makes sense for your high skill pilots to maneuver the enemy down, and then the lower skill (moving later) pilots to shoot them down. Who knows, maybe this is actually how it happens but it seems a bit odd. In terms of game mechanics though it works very very smoothly. 

Next up we fought a three way melee. Japanese vs British vs Russians. Another nice touch is upon the start of the game you make a skill roll for each pilot which dictates what advantage level they start at. You will notice my green plans in the bottom right are all disadvantaged.....the Red airforce believe in training by doing!

We all elected to hold some planes as 'high cover'. I think this is scenario dependent, but basically they can show up on the board edge within a certain distance of marker on whatever turn. If they don't show up you can move the marker along the edge a certain distance. It's like aerial flankers!

Happily I brought in my high cover, who happened to be the highest skill planes, very early. And very very right behind the British. Garret knows the game; it's best to thin our his planes early.

Clouds are very interesting as when you enter them your advantage goes neutral immediately. So they are a safe harbor for planes in trouble, but neutralize your advantage if you are doing well. 

Coming out of the cloud you have a choice to gain advantage, maneuver or shoot (like normal). This means that planes in advantage are pretty safe from things emerging from the clouds.

 The number of markers are very modest. It's important to mark who has and hasn't gone though. With so many planes, that change advantage, it's pretty easy to lose track of who has gone (we had a few times where we noted a plane we missed.....nothing that would have changed much). 

Firing ranges are fairly short, so despite playing on a 3x3 table with a lot of planes the opportunity for fire wasn't overwhelming (lots of planes aren't legal targets as they are at the same or higher advantage). By far maneuvering and gaining advantage are the most common actions taken.


 Planes have some character to them, with differences in offense/defense and, more notably, special abilities. These abilities give you some cards you can play to do a bit extra. Lose advantage to move extra far. Similarly, the aces (rare as they are) come with a special ability which is much more powerful. One of them could use maneuver AND shoot in a turn. Nasty bit of work that could solo enemies on his/her own (Russians had female pilots anyway).


As the enemy gains numbers on you there is a bit of a snowball effect. But skill is quite important. Since you move and do actions it makes sense to move first, and the first movers can often make their opponents lose the advantage they need to take their shots.

Overall I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed the game. While I don't know that I'd select it as a primary choice for a game night, it makes for quick games: so on a short night, or while killing time for the main event it seems like a great option.