Sunday, October 27, 2019

Galactic Heroes: Attack on the Force Field Generator

My friend Tom and I got in a game of Galactic Heroes last night and had an excellent time of it.  He borrowed Crash Carter and the Space Rangers, while I broke out the Invading Saucermen.  We decided on a slightly modified scenario from the main book.

The Space Rangers have caught news that the Saucermen are building a new, ultra-destructive battlestation: a Doom Moon! To protect the Doom Moon while it's under construction, a force field is being projected around the station from a generator on a nearby moon, populated by bronze-wielding primitives.  Captain Crash Carter, Doc Libra and a handpicked team of Rangers arrive on the moon with a mission: to deliver a Nova Bomb that will destroy the force field generator, so that the Ranger fleet in orbit can destroy the Doom Moon before it becomes fully operational.  

Lacking forest terrain, we set up a small outpost consisting of a number of prefab buildings placed around a transmission tower, with a few cargo loads of fuel tanks and generator parts for scatter and some ruined buildings to round things out.  As a special rule for this scenario, any time a Joker was played (Galactic Heroes uses a deck of playing cards for initiative purposes), a squad of natives (counting as Grunts, meaning they have one wound and only roll a D8, instead of a D10, for combat and task resolution) arrives to help the attackers. 

The game began fairly cautiously, with the Rangers advancing slowly and the Saucermen spreading out to meet them, with everyone hugging pretty closely to cover.  In Turn 2, however, things got wild; one of the Saucermen vaporized Crash Carter with a well-placed blaster shot, and then both jokers got played, meaning two groups of three native grunts arrived on the scene, ready to help the Rangers drive the Saucermen off their moon. 

On Turn 3, the Great Intelligence, leader of the Saucermen, unleashed his psychic powers on the natives, throwing them around like rag dolls.  They regrouped, storming the transmission tower, but the Great Intelligence proved an able match for them in melee as well, throwing the blue-skinned humanoids out every window he could.  Commandant Garkon, his second in command, fared less well, swiftly butchered by natives blades. 

With the Saucermen forced to split their fire between the Rangers and the fanatical hordes of natives, they were quickly overwhelmed, and the Great Intelligence eventually succumbed to the waves of natives charging up into the tower control room.  With the Saucerman garrison obliterated, the surviving Rangers placed and set the Nova Bomb and got off-moon as quickly as possible, returning to the waiting Ranger fleet. The Doom Moon would soon be no more. 

All in all, the game took us about an hour from set-up to breakdown, and was an enjoyable, leisurely evening for the both of us.  Tom it turns out has been a fan of the Fistful of Lead family of rules for years, ever since it was just a Western shoot-out game, and when I'd mentioned Galactic Heroes he'd gotten really excited to break out this system again.  I'm having a blast and I have other friends interested in trying the game out who couldn't make this game, so I'm looking forward to more play reports to come. 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Sci-Fi Buildings, Painted

I picked up a can of "Solstice Blue" spray paint from my local Home Depot, which was the perfect shade of light gray-blue for these sci-fi buildings.  After that, it was just a matter of picking out some details like grates and control panels.  I've done some red panels on the cafe that aren't quite done yet - I'm hoping I can make them look like they're illuminated. 

So naturally, I got out Crash Carter and his crew, and the Saucermen, and set up a little scene. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Galactic Heroes: Solo Play

I just played a quick solo game of Wiley Games' "Fistful of Lead: Galactic Heroes," to familiarize myself with the rules ahead of trying to demonstrate the game for other people at my FLGS next week.  I actually used the mission charts in Osprey Games' "Rogue Stars" rules to generate a mission, and then played everything out with Galactic Heroes.

The set up was simple: A gang of smugglers, led by the flamboyant, electro-whip-wielding Lillith, had to move three parcels of "Frigian Ice Jewels" across a snowy, ruin-dotted plain while evading Captain Crash Carter, his trusty assistant Doc Libra, and a squad of Stellar Legionaries.  Complicating matters, a snowstorm reduced all visibility to 12".  The smugglers were deployed in the middle of one table edge, while Carter and Libra deployed on one adjoining edge and the Legionaries deployed on the other.

During the first turn, Lillith used her jetpack to dart at Captain Carter and Doc Libra, hoping to distract them from the three troopers carrying bundles of precious gems.  Carter tried to take a pot shot at her, but rolled a 1 - Out of Ammo! Doc Libra pointed his Photon Wand at her and pressed the firing stud, catching her in a roiling cone of radiation, leaving her Shaken.  Meanwhile, her second-in-command, the cyborg Steve Austen, led the three jewel-toting regulars on a mad race across the tundra to safety, while the Stellar Legionaries fanned out and took up firing positions.

On the second turn, Crash unjammed his blaster pistol, and before she could react, Doc fired his Photon Wand again, reducing Lillith to a smear on the ice.

The rest of the smugglers quickly found themselves pinned down between two ruined buildings.  One of the Legionaries, Private Altax, took a bullet in the stomach from Dirk, a smuggler, quickly rolling over and succumbing to his injuries.  Before Dirk could celebrate, however, Crash threw himself over a ruined wall and shot the smuggler in the back, killing him instantly.

Flynn, one of the other smugglers, turned and fired point-blank at Carter with his auto-pistol despite being already injured by blasterfire, and successfully put two wounds on the Captain, knocking him flat on his back in the snow.

Doc raced over to try and perform first aid on the Captain (despite Doc not having the "Medic" trait, I decided on the fly that on an 8+ roll he could still negate one wound) while the Legionaries mopped up the remaining smugglers.  As Crash staggered to his feet, the Frigian Ice Jewels were recovered.

All in all, from set-up to breakdown took about an hour and I really enjoyed myself.  The game had a couple of great swings I wasn't expecting, both when Lillith unexpectedly bit the dust and when Crash almost followed her into the great beyond.

I did have a couple things I recognized as needing fixing - Crash's team had a distinct advantage in that while visibility was reduced to 12", that was still within short range for the Legionaries' blaster rifles, while the smugglers were all armed with auto-pistols - which had a long range of 12".  So a Legionary at the maximum extent of visibility could hit a smuggler on a 5+, but that smuggler would need an 8+ to shoot back.

Also, I definitely need to pick up a new deck of cards.  The one I've got, the cards are very cheap, very thin plastic and don't shuffle nicely at all.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Galactic Heroes

I got another crew done for Fistful of Lead: Galactic Heroes; a Flash Gordon stand-in and some supporting soldier-types.  Figures are from Killer B Miniatures' Retro Sci-fi line, and nice chunky sculpts that paint up beautifully. 

These first two are "Captain Gamma, Bare-Headed," and "Dr. Corvus Libra, Master Inventor," who will be the Leader and Specialist of the crew. The wand-like item held by Dr. Libra is going to count as some sort of special weapon.  Both of these are Bob Olley sculpts and were an absolute treat to paint, though now I see I missed a strap on Captain Gamma's left thigh. 

Next up a trio of "Lost Legionaires, Firing" - I'd flipped a coin to determine whether their uniforms would be red with white trim or blue with white trim, and blue won.  I realized halfway through that the blue coats, white trousers and black boots gave them a little bit of a French Foreign Legion vibe; maybe these guys are members of an Interstellar Foreign Legion where men go to escape their pasts.  I dig the big helmets. 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Sci-Fi Terrain Collecting Initiated

Well, with science fiction skirmish gaming apparently being the order du jour around my place, I decided to start collecting some futuristic buildings and other terrain pieces to liven up the table.  These are 3D prints purchased from Panhandle 3D Printing on Etsy, and I am very, very happy with the service.  If I had a 3D printer (or the room to have one set up) I'd print my own, but lacking that I'm happy to pay someone else to print for me. 

On the viewer's left is a "Sci-Fi Cafe with Canopy" designed by Imperial Terrain, and to the right is a "Lookout Tower" from Corvus Games Terrain.  Next to the Tower are the doors and windows that plug into the Cafe.  The prints needed only a little bit of touch-up work with a file and X-acto, arrived quickly and were packaged very securely against any possible damage, and I'm looking forward to buying from this store again. 

I haven't decided on a color for the Cafe yet, but I'll be hitting the Lookout Tower with a coat of battleship gray spray-paint as soon as I pick some up; I see it as a prefab, mass-produced building that colonists and settlers can just drop into place and get inside five minutes later, and that kind of put me in mind of how in the original Star Wars trilogy, all of the Empire's vehicles are the same shade of gray.  So I figure battleship gray with details picked out and some weathering applied will be good. 

I'd like to be able to put on games set in bustling spaceports, mining towns on backwater planets and isolated outposts, and this is a big first step in that direction.  It's funny; even just a few years ago I never would have imagined I'd end up such a fan of skirmish gaming on terrain-dense tables, but boy howdy, it makes for a real visual treat of a game in a way "4x6 table with a green cloth thrown over it, pushing regiments of figures around" just doesn't. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Little Green Men

After painting that Bug-Eyed Monster, I did a little digging around looking for 28mm retro sci-fi lines of figures.  Fortunately, Wiley Games highlights a couple of them in the "Galactic Heroes" rulebook, and I placed an order online for some Killer B Miniatures (USA distributor Recreational Conflict linked), from their "Retro Sci-Fi" and "Invasion X" lines.  Captain Gamma and his Gamma Rangers will be heading for the priming box as soon as I get a dry day, but I did manage to get a set of "Venusian Saucermen," complete with commanding Emissary, primed black and painted this week. 

These Brussel Sprout-headed invaders stand around 20-22mm tall, and their design owes clear inspiration to Paul Blaisdell's designs for the 50s B-movie INVASION OF THE SAUCERMEN. I opted to keep their color scheme simple - suits were done in Reaper's "Gunmetal Blue," with boots and gloves picked out in "Pure Black" and belt buckles, air tanks (jet packs? They have fins...), collars and ray rifles picked out in "True Silver." The coiled bit on the rifles, as well as the collar of one of the Venusians, was picked out in "Coppery Orange."  Their skin was base-coated in "Olive Drab" and highlighted with "Worn Olive," then the eye picked out in "Fresh Blood."

For the Venusian Emissary, I wanted a sense of alien opulence; the robes were base-coated in Reaper "Red Violet" and highlighted with "Pale Red Violet," while the mask/helmet was done in True Silver and Coppery Orange, with a few Antique Gold highlights.  Cuffs of the sleeves and the shoulder pads were done in Antique Gold, while the belt and ornaments are True Silver.  The leather backing for the chest ornaments is Ruddy Leather, given a light edge highlight of Oiled Leather.  The eye-lens on his mask was done in True Silver and given a couple coats of GW "Spiritstone Red" gemstone paint. 

All in all, I think they came out pretty good for about 3 hours' work overall.  Looking forward to using them in Galactic Heroes. 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Bug-Eyed Monster

Since I've been painting a lot of sci-fi figures and reading various rulesets aimed at Flash Gordon-style derring-do, I've definitely been in a pulp sci-fi mood lately, and it dawned on me that I'll need at least one Bug-Eyed Monster to serve as an adversary or complication on games; Osprey's Rogue Stars has a "Space Demon" complication on its mission-generation charts, and BEMs are such an iconic aspect of the genre that I knew I wanted to do one.

Fortunately, I had the perfect figure sitting in the box my Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter came in.  From their "Dreadmere" expansion, this brain-on-tentacles looked like it had just slithered off a cover painting for Astounding Stories.  I quickly washed it and glued it to a 40mm round base and, once dry, base-coated the brain in Vallejo "Warlord Purple" and the tentacles in Reaper "Brilliant Green."

The brain was then drybrushed with Vallejo "Squid Pink" while the tentacles got thin layers of Reaper Viper Green, Vallejo Escorpena Green and Livery Green built up towards the tips of the tentacles, leaving the base of each one darker.  Once this had dried I glazed the tentacles in GW "Wayfarer Green," and picked out the eye with Vallejo Fire Orange and Golden Yellow, dotting in the iris and drawing the veins in Reaper Fresh Blood Red and finally painting the pupil with a dot of Pure Black.  Pure Black was also used to pick out the claws on the undersides of each tentacle. 

The base was painted Reaper "Cloudy Gray" and will be getting flocked tomorrow, and hopefully varnished as well.  Now to find a proper Flash Gordon-style figure to oppose this horrible monster...