Sunday, March 23, 2014

Armor Grid in 6mm

This weekend I got around to building some Armor Grid models at 50% scale, putting them roughly at the size of 6mm models. Here is a light vehicle (from the Motor Pool set) and a forest area (from the Terrain Pack.)

Building the vehicle at this reduced scale required the use of tweezers and I had to print it in regular, 90gsm paper otherwise the small paper tabs became unworkable. The terrain elements were printed in 180gsm cardstock.

I say "roughly" 6mm because I do not have many references about actual vehicle sizes in that scale. From the measurements I saw on the Onslaught Miniatures site, it seems that the medium and large Armor Grid miniatures would be about the same size as their tanks.

This light vehicle is about 2cm long and 1cm wide. Here is a picture with a ruler to have a better sense of scale.

I did this both as a challenge and to evaluate the feasibility of making a whole group of vehicles to play Armor Grid, Strike Legion and other games in 6mm scale. Surely, there are metal miniatures at low prices in this scale, but there are still the issues of availability and shipping costs around here. Based on these results, I am thinking about making my own set of simplified models for 6mm.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Using CROM for post-apocalyptic games

In a previous post, I made a short review of CROM from Matakishi's Tea House and commented on its suitability for solo play. Although it was designed to play heroic fantasy adventures, I do not think it is hard to adapt it to other melee-heavy settings. This includes post-apocalyptic worlds where enough time has passed to make most technology lost.

There are no character creation rules in CROM. Instead, they are described as possessing some capabilities, such as ranged attacks or certain magic spells. The rules describe how these are resolved in game. Therefore, I decided to expand or adjust the rules for a post-apocalyptic setting. Here is what I currently use:

Firearms: these ancient weapons use the normal rules for ranged attacks. Pistols and SMGs add 1 special die for this purpose; rifles and shotguns add 2. That is, every turn a figure with a firearm has that amount of bonus special dice to use. These are also the number of extra wounds that may be caused if sixes are rolled. However, after each shot a die must be rolled. On a 1, the firearm breaks. On a 2, it is jammed until the end of the scenario. Firearms reduce cover effectiveness by 1.

Energy guns: these are powerful ranged weapons from before the fall of civilization. Energy guns reduce cover effectiveness by 1. To fire an energy gun, a figure must use pairs of combat and special dice. Therefore, an attack will roll 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 dice at most. If the attack is successful, any 6 rolled on a combat die adds a wound. However, after an energy gun is fired, roll a die. If the result is equal to or lower than the number of combat dice used in the attack, the gun explodes, causing 1 wound to its user. For instance, after an attack with 4 dice, I roll one die and get a 1. Since this is less than 2 (the number of combat dice rolled) the gun explodes and causes a wound.

Psychic abilities use the Magic system from the CROM book. Some sample powers:
Mind blast - a target may defend with any available dice. A successful hit causes 2 wounds and the target is stunned (may only defend for the rest of this turn.)
Pyrokinesis - a target may defend with any available dice. A successful hit causes 2 wounds and a roll of 6 sets the target on fire.

Friday, March 7, 2014

First Impressions: 5150 Battalion Commander

A couple of days ago I bought 5150 Battalion Commander. I still have to finish reading the campaign part of book, but I have already read and played some test battles with infantry, vehicles and mechs separately. By the way, I found this book very well-organized. Also, differently from other Two Hour Wargames titles, this one includes points values for the different units of the 5150 universe.

Tinkering with the 5150 Paper Warriors miniatures and Gimp, I built a full company of Hishen and Star Army infantry grouped in stands. As I am playing in a reduced scale, each stand is 1.5cm wide and 1cm deep.

I played two games pitting a platoon of Hishen against a platoon of Star Army, each of them with a heavy machine gun team. In the first game, the Hishen panicked after losing a squad (in a series of failed crisis tests.) The second game was a lot closer: the Star Army was left with the platoon leader team and one squad. Each game did not take longer than an hour, and that is while I was learning the rules.

I also played some quick battles between tanks and between mechs, and tried some encounters between tanks and infantry just to learn the rules for overrun and close assault. Vehicle traits are more abstract in 5150 Battalion Commander than in some other sci-fi rules. Still, I got the overall feeling that each type of force (infantry, vehicles and mechs) has their role and advantages on the battlefield. I guess that is good, in a sci-fi game of combined arms. The mechs seem at first glance a little too powerful but I will need to play some more games to be sure.


As I wrote at the start of the post, these are my first impressions after some "test battles." The streamlining of the rules, compared to Star Army, results in a very fluid game. I plan on making some paper stands to represent tanks and mechs so that I can play large battles with this system.