The Stones Remember Release

Another NF military short for those interested in such things. Short money, a quick read. Thanks for your support and encouragement. Take Care and have a great day.

Hot Space Station Justice

The-Stones-RememberAnother ‘Near-Future’ short, The Stones Remember is about NATO units caught up in a massive Russian invasion of Poland and the Baltics. Exhausted, out-gunned, and out numbered, they find themselves at the site of an old battlefield and have to decide if some history is worth repeating.

Available in electronic format right now, it’s a quick, cheap read. (less than a cup of coffee lasts longer) Thanks much. I’m hammering away at two full-length novel projects but wanted to get this out in the meantime. Hope you enjoy it.

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MOUT and Mat

As promised, pictures of the GameMatz mat. Judge for yourself. Also took some pics of my reinforced Near Future MOUT team on the mat to give you some context.

The MOUT team was initially composed of excellent Pig Iron NF Infantry with an Old Crow APC, an old Void Viridian sniper for support, an old metal CAV Simba mech to hump gear, plus two excellent Zandris IV battlesuits for slugging it out in the ruins.

I wanted to beef the team up a bit so I picked up an old VOR Union ARES battlesuit off eBay then a cool looking grav drone from Khurasan Miniatures. (fits nice, eh?) Well then I had to hunt down figs to represent elite Delta-types. Settled on a rather obscure set from Sergeant Major Miniatures. The aesthetic was similar to PI stuff, plus the NVGs were very cool.

Here they are. Have a good week.

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Black patches upper left, center top, left of center crater bottom edge. Small logo lower right.
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Printing is fairly stark B/W. Again, not terrible but less than expected.
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ARES Suit with Sgt Major figs
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Bravo Squad with Big Dog
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Drone footage?
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Very keen grav-drone from Khurasan Miniatures. You need one of these for your NF force
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Skulking through the rubble
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Point and Shout
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Support elements.

GameMatz War Zone mat

At this stage in my life, I’m fortunate to be able to game with some great guys. We enjoy different games, campaigns, different genres as well as each others’ company. It may sound weird, but it’s a genuine blessing.

Because we play a lot of Post-Apoc and SF skirmish games, I took the plunge and ordered a high quality 4′ x 3′ mouse pad War Zone theme ProMatz from GameMatz.com. Not cheap but between the gushing reviews and the hankering for fun, great looking games, I figured it was worth a shot.

See below. Looks cool, eh?

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Well…

Shipping was fairly quick and the mat arrived two days ago, rolled up in a clear plastic bag. I unwrapped it right away and set it on my table. As advertised, it is solidly built – it’s so sturdy in fact, it still hasn’t quite laid flat on the gaming table yet.

Ruggedness aside, I have two reservations: 1. the mat is MUCH  darker than pictured. 2. the image is FAR MORE more grainy that anticipated. Now I hate to be ‘that guy’. I love supporting small businesses and so appreciate the global war gaming community made possible by the internet. I understand fabric might not accept the image transfer process the same as vinyl, but honestly… the mat I received is very dark and the details are not crisp. In fact, it kinda looks like someone used up all the black ink printing this one at a low resolution.

Will we use it? Sure. It’ll work just fine once I plunk down terrain and deploy some troops.  GameMatz offers variety of sizes, this one certainly fits our needs for skirmish games, and like I said, it is solid. But would I recommend it or buy again from GameMatz? Ahhh….

*sense that hesitation?*

Now YMMV – Their other mats/styles might suit your needs perfectly. But I confess, given the reviews and the price, I expected higher quality.

It gets THREE STARS. (not bad but not great)

 

Oldie but Goodie

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Last Tues’ ASOBH AAR was cancelled due to an imminent remodeling project in the Game Room. (new windows) Everything had to be tidied up by 8 a.m. sharp the next morning. I am pleased to report that while more than half my men were slaughtered by the end of Turn 3, my trio of evil barbarians pulled glorious victory from the jaws of humiliating defeat. They rallied and swiftly sent Matt and Derek’s warbands to Valhilla. (we have a habit of placing slain models on out-of-the-way hilltops) I fondly recall  one particularly nice Gruesome Kill made by Nekhar the Red against an Elven Mage. Interesting game all around. Matt and Derek  will nonetheless resume their quest for the Liche King’s crypt in two weeks.

So apologies for no pictures.

BUT…

I do offer this little gem: a flash fiction that captures the two main wargame schools of thought. Now I lean toward the Realistic rather than Space Fantasy myself. Although call it whatever you want, I’m still just playing with Toy Soldiers.

That said, I present “Ground Zero” by Tom Sullivan.

***

Ground Zero

By TOM SULLIVAN

“Christ,” whispered Pugh, “It looks like someone slapped a set of treads onto a dumpster!”

Kemmerman snorted his agreement. “And check out Buck Rogers there! Sticking his big, ugly ol’ head outta the hatch, and not even bothering to stick a helmet on it! Think he’s got a ‘Shoot Me’ sign on his back, too?”

“Cut it,” snapped the sergeant, “We’ve got work to do here. Sorenson, have you got a lock yet?”

“Yessir,” he replied, his gaze remaining fixed on the Scorpion’s display. “Ready when you are, sir.”

Nodding, the sergeant tapped at his com unit. “Jessup? You ready?” He nodded again at the reply. “All right then, on my mark…NOW!!”

There was a sudden sharp crack, and the enemy officer’s head vanished, replaced by a rapidly dispersing red mist. This sound was followed a heartbeat later with a loud “Crump!” as the Scorpion rocket penetrated the side of the APC. The vehicle skewed sideways, smoke and flame billowing from the hole in its side, as the second rocket hit, this time impacting at the rear.

The APC exploded with a satisfying roar, scattering pieces of men and metal across the field.

“That,” Pugh said with feeling, “was abso-fuckin-lutely beautiful. You know that? That’s a goddamn piece of art right there, Billy! You should get down there and sign it, you know?”

Sorenson shrugged as he repositioned himself, targeting the second APC. “It’s eighty percent inspiration, ten percent perspiration, and one hundred and ten percent detonation, my man.”

The APC shuddered, and obligingly lost a tread, as the rocket hit it.

“It’s a damned good thing that you can shoot, buddy,” Pugh said, ’cause you sure as shit can’t add.” He shook his head, waving at the men spilling out of the crippled vehicle. “Now look at that! Bright red armor? What are they, color-blind? Or just stupid?”

“Neither,” interrupted the sergeant, “they’re arrogant and very well armored. Now, shut up and shoot.”

“Yessir,” Pugh muttered, shouldering his rifle, “shooting away, sir. Doesn’t seem to be doing much good, sir.”

“When I want your opinion, Pugh, I’ll be sure to tell you what it is, understand? Just keep firing. And Sorenson, wait for my command, dammit!”

The armored men seemed largely indifferent to the rifle fire, only a few even bothering to return it.

Miller shook his head as he sprayed bullets down the hill. “Jesus, what the fuck are they firing? Howitzers? Those are the biggest goddamn rifles I’ve ever seen!”

Pugh snorted. “Yeah, but do think they can actually hit anything with ’em? Might as well just throw the damned things at us for all the good they’re doing!” He yelped, jerking back as a crater was blasted into the ground a foot away from his head. “Yeah, yeah…fuck you too, Murphy!”

“You know,” Pugh noted after a moment, “they really don’t seem very happy, sir. In fact,” he added, as he changed clips, “they seem downright pissed. Sir.”

The sergant ignored him. “Jessup? There’s a guy down there with a very big gun. Yeah, the one painted yellow. Eliminate him for me, would you?”

There was a flash, a bang, and one of the men at the bottom of the hill collapsed, a neat little hole visible in the side of his helmet. Pugh made an approving noise. “Very nice, Jessup! You and Sorenson, you’re like the…the..Boticellis of the battlefield, you know? Fuckin’ artistes, I tell ya!”

“‘Boticellis of the battlefield’, Pugh? What are you on, anyway?”

“It’s called culture, buddy. Give it a try sometime. You’ll like eating with a fork, I just know it!”

“Um, sir?” Miller said, abruptly, “Sir? They appear to be charging, sir. Up the hill, sir.”

“Yeah,” the sergant replied with satisfaction, “Yeah, they certainly are, aren’t they? The big bastards are nothing if not predictable. Just keep firing, private. Williams, Cook? Be ready.”

“My God,” Pugh marveled, “the guy in front has a sword! A goddamn sword! What’s in his other pocket, a flint fucking spear?”

They did, he had to admit to himself, certainly look impressive. Each stood at least seven feel tall, and their brilliant red armor made them look even bigger. “Kind of a shame they’re such morons,” he muttered.

Two of the charging men fell, neither making it even halfway up the hill, but the remaining seven kept coming, firing, apparently at random,as they did.

“Now!” the sergant shouted. “Now, dammit!”

The man in the lead, the one waving the sword, was cut almost in half by the incoming plasma bolt. Those behind him stopped sort, caught in the crossfire as William’s and Cook’s squads opened fire. Sorenson fired the Scorpion, catching one man squarely in the center of his chest. The result was, while interesting, far from pretty.

The concentrated fire of fifteen men proved sufficient. Almost. Only one man made it to the top of the hill, his armor cracked and pitted with innumerable bullet holes. Moving with remarkable speed for such a large man, he surged forward, grabbing the sergant by the throat before the rest of the squad could react.

“Now,” the man rasped, his voice distorted by his helmet, “you shall die, in the Emperor’s….”

*BLAM*

He stopped.

Looked down.

Saw the smoke rising from the barrel of the pistol pressed firmly against his stomach.

And fell, gently, to the ground.

The sergant stepped back, rubbing gingerly at his throat. “He was a tough bastard, I’ll give him that much,” he said, hoarsely. He prodded at the corpse with his toe, dislodging the man’s helmet with a sudden fierce kick.

“Jesus, what did they do?” asked Pugh, “Shave an ape?” The man’s features were grotesquely exaggerated, almost to the point of caricature.

“That,” said the sergant, “is what happens when you combine several centuries of extensive genetic and bionic engineering with being raised from birth to worship an immortal psychopath. Makes you understand the Promixa Covenant, doesn’t it?”

He sighed. “Stupid goddamned fanatics. They think they entire universe should play by their rules. Well, fuck that. We’re gonna show ’em how a war is supposed to be fought. Space Marines, my ass!” He kicked the corpse again, not gently. “How do you like life at ground zero, asshole?”

***

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Toil, Toll, and Trouble

Resuming our ASOBH campaign, our intrepid adventurers faced random encounter with an Black Ork warband. A bit more than the old ‘toll booth shakedown’, these orks were perfectly content to take heads for their belts as silver for their coin bags.

As far as encounters go, this was a  straight up brawl. The clerics kept on the straight and narrow, aiming for the gate while the elves and hired ranger advanced through the wooded hills on the right.

Not ones to be shy, the Orks surged to meet them bellowing war cries, bashing their weapons together.

Combat turned into a rugby scrum in the open ground in front of the gate. The adventurers drew first blood, with Norbert the Novice bashing an ork brute to the dirt near the way stone. In fact, it seemed our heroes would carry the day as the orks were consistently sluggish in their combat and movement. Two more orks went down – one to grizzled cleric Lazarus Sturn,  the other to the hired ranger’s sword. (earning his pay, that guy.) Even the massive Ork war boss was beaten back as he attacked the exiles. It looked like a black day for the greenskins, except…

Thing about orks is they’re tougher – and stupider – than a wagon full of rocks. They just don’t know when to stay down. And they didn’t.

The brutes from the old fortification finally got into the fight and the raw power of ork muscle began to tell. The ork warriors engaged the clerics, driving them back. In the woods, the huge War Boss just wouldn’t die. Beaten back, knocked down repeatedly, he got up again and again. He kept coming, swinging that massive ax like a harvester trying to beat the rain.

Through brute strength and stubbornness, the tide turned. First Norbert went down, bashed by an ax. Then the War Boss scored a gruesome kill on the pesky Ranger. Lazarus Sturn was felled next, fighting two brutes. The elf rogue dashed in to engage the War Boss as it lumbered toward the elf spell caster. A vicious dance ensued but in the end, the rogue’s speed and cunning was no match for raw orkish rage and savagery.

The last turn saw both the head cleric and the elf caster fleeing the board with the orks braying crude insults at their backs.

The adventurers will definitely need time to recover before continuing their quest to find the Lich King’s Crypt.

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The Empire Gate on the old West Road.
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St. Cuthbert’s Faithful refuse to yield to highway robbery.
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The hired help: Ranger with a long sword and short bow.
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The Exiles, lead by the elf formerly known as Prince Elathrion.
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Exiles stalk through the woods on the right while the cleric advance up the road. Orks move to greet them.
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Swirling melee in front of the gate.
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Orks take casualties but still keep coming.
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War Boss and Brutes
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More brutes looking to collect.

Song of Mirrorshades and Shadows

FISTFUL OF SHADOWS?

Here’s the table set up from last Tuesday’s Game Night.

We’re in an intermission from our Fantasy “Whispers of the Liche King” campaign so I can paint up more baddies and build a couple terrain pieces.  To stay in the mood, Derek, Matt and I did a quick game of cyberpunk-flavored ASOBH – the Itchy Bang Gang versus NKPD Special Activities Department. We stole some traits from Fistful of Kung Fu but find the combat results table too fiddly. Stuck with straight SOBH melee and modified the results for Ranged attacks.

Game was a straight-up brawl. No real story, more test driving the streamlined combat mechanics. Seemed to work, so we’ll bolt on more chrome in the next games.

COMBAT RESULTS

MELEE COMBAT = Per Standard ASOBH Melee Rules

DEFENDER WIN (RANGED) = Defender Dodge/No Effect

ATTACKER WIN BY 1 = Defender Recoils 1 Short toward nearest Cover.

ATTACKER WIN 2+ = Defender Prone (Auto Kill for any subsequent attacker win while Prone AND +2 to attacker’s C for Melee)

1 SHY of DOUBLE = Knocked Out. Can be revived by friendly. (3 Successful Q rolls. 2 if Medic. Auto Revive with Auto Doc. Can be Auto killed by melee enemy spending one action to attack. (cover or passive trait penalties apply but no defense roll possible)

DOUBLE = Kill

TRIPLE = Gruesome Kill (force morale roll to allies in Long/LOS)

***

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Jien Tien District of New Kong City
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Some of the IBG
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NKPD with Pacification drone.
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That’s why God invented snipers
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Damien Feuer, Street Mage
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