Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Sci-Fi Hangar by Impudent Mortal

I don't like MDF building kits. There are so many minor details that irk me —  the perfect 90 degree accuracy, the little pegs that show through on corner joins, the uniformity of design and identical thickness of every wall and element — each one contributes to breaking the immersion for me. I've held off on assembling any large MDF kits, but after seeing the Impudent Mortal display at Historicon last summer I couldn't resist any longer. I need to fill a table with sci-fi buildings, the Impudent Mortal kits were some of the best I'd seen and scratch-building my own wasn't going to cut it. I figured with a little extra care I could reduce the issues that bug me about MDF kits and still save time by using a pre-manufactured model. Check out my build after the jump.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

An update on what I've been Up To (spoiler: it's Star Schlock)

Hello friend! It's been a while since I've posted anything to my blog, but I've been so busy on game stuff I haven't had a chance to log an update. I've been prepping to run my sci-fi skirmish game Star Schlock in February at Scrum Con, our club's convention near Washington DC. If you live in the area you should totally come. It's fun!

In preparation I painted up a few more figures for the game.

A mystery gunslinger I picked up at a con and a little Bombshell Miniatures bot I gave a gun.

A great alien leader from Colony 87. It took me a few years to figure out what color he needed to be.

The frog alien's stat card in Star Schlock. Any resemblance to a person living or dead is purely coincidental.

I also ran the game on New Year's eve to try some new units and rules out.

Evil Totalitarian Dominion dronetroopers face off for control of the spaceport against a royal house of the Federated Alliance.

Murdertron goes down in a hail of laser fire as the Royal Astro Guards storm the building.

Kroglogg snipers engaged in a firefight with dastardly dronetroopers.

I've been taking a lot of time translating my notes into an actual draft rulebook for the game. Star Schlock can get a bit complex, so a lot of my time has been simplifying, clarifying and reducing the headache of trying to learn the game from a written document. I collect rule sets to dissect, owning far more than I'll ever have a chance to play. While I like understanding how a game works, I find reading them can often feel like drudgery. I have some ideas for layout and design to make comprehending a new set a bit easier that I've started experimenting with. Will see if it pans out or if this is a design path that leads to a dead end.

I also received my final test prints of the 3D sculpts for my Star Schlock Astro Guards. I discovered a few tiny updates to make and then they'll be sent to the caster.

I'm hoping to run a Kickstarter for these in the spring, but even if I'm only to get a handful of master figures completed for myself I'll be happy. Sculpting and casting my own figures has been a bucket list item for me since I painted my first orc over 30 years ago. If you are interested in either the Star Schlock game or the figures, I've set up a website where you can sign up for updates. Until next time!

Monday, November 18, 2019

"And now you're back, from outer space..." My Star Schlock / Fall In 2019 Convention Report

After months of preparation, (and years of procrastination) I finally ran my game Star Schlock at a convention. Having only played convention games, I wasn't quite sure what to expect when running one, but with advice from my pals Joe Procopio and Walt O'Hara and a spot donated by the HAWKS in their room I felt as prepared as I was going to be before taking the plunge into convention game mastering. 

I've run this scenario many times over the last few months, tweaking both the rules as well as the scenario itself to provide a balanced game that would give players plenty to do. It's essentially a zombie attack, one side playing the ravening hordes of undead and their alien masters, with the good guys trying to hold off the creeps long enough to evacuate innocent civilians and heroes on the last shuttle. In play testing, the horde of shambling dead won consistently, and while the good guys eked out a narrow victory in the final play test before the convention I was by no means sure those balanced results would play out with players who were completely unfamiliar with the rules.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Star Schlock: Final Preparations

Royal Astro Guards of the Federation race to secure a comms objective to send an evacuation signal to the populace before the undead moon zombies arrive.

I ran a final play test for the Star Schlock scenario I'm bringing to Fall In this weekend. The Federation good guys eked out a win, successfully blasting off and escaping the horde of Space Ghouls who overran the mining camp. I've found most players stumble through the first round or so, but have a good grasp with the basics by mid game. I think there are enough standard conventions that experienced wargamers can pick them up quickly enough, but there are some wrinkles that give players additional decision points each turn beyond "should I move and shoot or shoot and move?" I'm looking forward to running some fresh faces through the game to see if this is something people outside my local game groups would be interested in.

I also finalized the promotional prizes I'll be handing out to the winners of each scenario.

Even without knowing anything about the game, if this sort of thing pushes your buttons, Star Schlock might be up your alley. My Friday game is locked up but I believe there's a spot or two available in my Saturday game. Come roll some dice with me, or just stop by to check it out! See you there!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Guest Post - "In Deep Trouble" Dungeon Crawl

I was lucky enough to find a buddy in college whose outlook, interests and nerd obsessions fit seamlessly with mine. We roomed together in school and shared a series of crummy apartments after graduating, filling our free time with epic RPG games, Battletech, and the Star Wars CCG.

I kept close contact with him as he crossed the country to pursue a career in academia, and we've managed to get together once a year and roll some dice or tap some cards. He recently began working on RPG-like dungeon crawl game. I posted a few of his 'work in progress' pics to my twitter feed, but encouraged him to share more about his game to a blog. He balked at setting up one of his own, but took me up on my offer to host a post of his right here.

Check this out, I think it's pretty neat.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Star Schlock is coming to Fall In

Star Schlock forces, ready for their next playtest.

I'll be running a few games of Star Schlock at Fall In this year. To ensure things go smoothly I've been playtesting the scenario to make sure the forces are balanced and players have plenty of opportunities to roll dice and blow stuff up.

Here's the scenario listed in the PEL:

Space Ghouls of the Cursed Moon

Disaster on Moon Base Alpha! The mineral extractors dug too deep, awakening a long slumbering alien intelligence. Roused from hibernation, an inhuman elder being has animated the corpses of the dead, spurring them to wipe out all life on the surface of the planetoid! The colony's defenders race to thwart the shambling cannibalistic monsters long enough to fuel the last escape shuttle. Will they escape the creatures' grasp, or will the ranks of the undead menace grow with fresh victims.

 The surface of the desolate moon is finished, but I'm still working on the fuel pumping station and landing platform that form the centerpiece of the battlefield. The basic shapes are in place, which are all I needed for playtesting.

The semi painted space ghouls shamble towards fleeing Federation forces.
In our game the animated dead methodically made their way into the settlement, exchanging ragged gunfire early in the game before closing in and digging their claws into the astro guards deployed to hold them off.

Major Tom and an Elder Thing wrecking the Federation space cadets attempting to secure the pumping station.

The space zombies have proven pretty fun to run. They initially seem incredibly slow, but as players have discovered the ghoul's various special abilities they've invariably been able to sweep across the board with the horde.

Federation astro guards under fire.

The Federation forces have been trickier to balance, but in this outing the Federation players were able to coordinate some devastating attacks, obliterating several mobs of space ghouls with concentrated fire.

BOOM! The escape ship is crippled!

Unfortunately, the space zombies were able to sabotage the pumping station, causing an explosion on the landing platform, crippling the escape vessel. It turns out Federation players are more interested in killing zombies than recovering and refueling their space ship in each of the playtests I've run. We've got a few ideas to tweak the fuel recovery part of the scenario to make fueling the ship a bit more fun and I think another playtest before Fall In should work out the last few kinks.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the way the game is shaping up, and I'm looking forward to running some fresh faces through it!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Which color scheme do you prefer?

I'm having trouble picking a color scheme for these heroic "Astro Guards" I've been working on for Star Schlock. I knocked together some quick color studies to compare them, but still can't settle on one.  Do you have a preference?

Thanks for helping me decide!