Hardwired: Asset Retrieval

Cyberpunk Covert Ops

Work obligations caused the Cape Cod Wargame Commission to set our current SYMBAROUM campaign aside for the time being. Unfortunate, but bills gotta be paid, deadlines met, contracts honored, and all that other adult stuff.

That meant we broke out our Cooperative Cyberpunk Rules, HARDWIRED, for Tuesday night’s game session. With the Modular Interior Boards set up, a VIP Asset in the facility, everyone picked an Agent and kitted up for the run.

This was a straightforward mission: assist the new employee with his sudden transition to a new position in your corporation. Helpful, like a moving company. But for people, not furniture. Oh and you might wish to neutralize his bodyguards and disable the tracking nano-tech in his blood before you hustle him out the back door.

Turn One goes as expected with the team spread out as they advanced. Bodyguards call for backup and the first wave of H-SEC responds.

Matt’s cyber ninja Razor quickly dispatched the guards. Max’s Splicer moves into deal with the bio-tech. The rest of the Agents moved up and prepared to deal with the reinforcements.

Tracking Nanites disabled, Turns Two and Three saw nasty firefights breakout as new waves of Hostile Security spawned. Max and Derek escorted Mr Van Dorn down the hall toward the Exfil.

H-SEC moved behind cover, trying to block the Exit as new, more dangerous reinforcements arrived on the flank.

Once again, Matt’s CyberNinja slinks into action while Other Pat and I cut down the Response Team on the left before moving up to trade shots with the blocking squad.

This allows Derek and Max to get Mr. Van Dorn out the door to the waiting stealth VTOL.

#PackageRetrieved

A couple Agents took some hits but everyone got out. A long corridor and some convenient spawning rolls (for the Agents) made this a pretty easy mission. No complaints there; it’s Winter – cold, dark, busy, No real effort or concentration necessary – just move miniatures, roll dice, have a good time.

Four of us are playing a large ZONA ALFA game this Saturday, but work and writing obligations will be commanding most of my attention for a while, so it looks like John and Other Pat will be GMing some DnD 5e and Savage Worlds Shadowrun until further notice. Which is nice, as it means I can kick back and play.

Have an excellent day. I’ll leave you with two of my all-time favorite Sci-Fi figs.


Dungeon Party and New Characters

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DUNGEON PARTY

I have this hobby tic, this obsession with skirmish squads, adventuring parties, salvage crews, cyberpunk gangs, shadow-ops teams… I get a kick out of hunting down miniatures, matching aesthetics, regardless of manufacturer, to come up with a cool troop for whatever scenario had fired my imagination.

Few months ago – around the time I made my modular dungeon – I decided to create a generic Dungeon Crawl Party: Wizard, Knight, Rogue, Cleric, Ranger, Barbarian… you know the ones. My starting point would be Hasslefree Miniatures. Now the lion’s share of my fantasy figs are from Reaper and they’re outstanding. But this time I wanted a different look, as well as the opportunity to work on my painting skills.

To be honest, I chose HF because I’ve always found Kev White’s figs, along with Corvus Belli’s Infinity range, pretty intimidating. What with the incredible detail, dynamic, and character, not to mention the ridiculously superb examples floating around various sites and forums, I simply wasn’t confident I’d do them justice.

But the inspiration kept gnawing at me, so I made up my mind to try. Not to compete but work on technique. I stuck with a limited palette, but I made a conscious effort to paint each figure separately, as an individual character. I slowed down my ‘table top standard, assembly line’ approach and spent more time trying to pick out extra details, dry brush, maybe highlight. I spent a little more time on the bases. We’re not talking Golden Demon here, just a notch or two above my usual.

The results are below

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Half-Ogre Fighter

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Celtos Elf Character. (Still Kev White tho)

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Barbarian and his Rogue Babe

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A Cleric and a Dwarf walk into a bar…

Here’s an Alternate Rogue

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One of Tre Manor’s Barbarians, I believe.

 

There’s a vague ‘Northman/Barbarian’ look to them (must be all those fur pelts) and they’re certainly not Competition standard, but I’m pleased with the results.

Now you may have noticed there’s no Wizard. I tried several, really, but none of them ticked all my boxes for this bunch. But I think I’ve finally found one: Meksant Farseer from Lucid Eye’s Red Book of the Elf King range. (and I want all of those miniatures now, thank you.)  He’s in the mail. I’ll post photos and a group shot when he’s done.

SYMBAROUM CHARACTERS

So there are seven of us who meet weekly to game now. I consider myself exceptionally fortunate to be able to game with so many great guys. Even more remarkable, word of Game Night has spread and there might be a new player coming next week.

At this point, an RPG is the only way to keep everyone involved and I have to say SYMBAROUM does a fine job; easy system, darkly beautiful setting, evocative artwork, loads of GM material… really can’t say enough about how robust and deep the game is. You should get it. Seriously.

On that point, I got some color on three new figs: Sister Althea, representative of the controversial priest Father Sarvola; an alternate fig for Tom’s character, Tior Huldrasson; and an ‘as-yet-unnamed’ Rogue for our potential new adventurer.

 

Enough for now. Have an excellent weekend. More to come, including a major ZONA ALFA Bat Rep.

Thanks.

Symbaroum: The Gloaming Roads, part 2

The Adventure Continues in Davokar

More Symbaroum last night as the party made its way deeper into the forest, heading toward a Lone Gate. These ancient structures are portals that lead to the Gloaming Roads; the mystical pathways that allow one to travel swiftly across the trackless leagues of  Deep Davokar.

 

Three incidents worth noting: the first was the appearance of a wizened trapper. Hunched, wrinkled and worn, with intricate blue tattoos in precisely half his body, he was accompanied by a blind and mute boy who carried his bags. While one member pondered attacking the seemingly defenseless duo (bad idea) common sense and common courtesy prevailed. The party left the scene with less gold but a number of useful provisions.

Next was a campsite. The bodies of five novice treasure hunters were discovered, all with terrible wounds and signs of corruption.  Unfortunately, the ogre tripped while searching one of the tents, knocked over a cooking set and smashed one of the camp stools. The racket alerted a blighted toad, demon… thing. Some minor wounds but the ogre redeemed himself and killed the vile creature.

Last was the Gate itself. Barbarian raiders had been tracking the party, having recognized one of the characters as a wanted fugitive. Their ambush wasn’t as successful as they’d hoped, but the ensuing brawl was quite ugly. Here again, Max’s ogre was in fine form, absolutely destroying barbarians with his hammer and sword. (twin attacks, each 1D8, +1D4 damage. It is a beautiful thing when it works.)

The last of the raiders was dispatched just as the sun set and the full moon rose. Ritual performed, the Gate opens and our heroes step onto the Gloaming Roads.  To be continued next week.

 

Game Night: Symbaroum

Apologies for the silence on the hobby front – I have the good problem of an abundance of work and when you’re self-employed, you have to take it when it comes. Our weekly game nights have been consistent despite that, (priorities, right?) but due to the hectic schedule, we’ve been focusing on RPGS. And when there are six regulars, it makes sense space and time wise to dial the scale of battle down so everyone stays engaged.

So with that in mind, John recently ran an excellent DnD one-shot wherein our party investigated an ancient crumbling fortress rumored to be tainted by evil, not to mention the most likely cause of a number of local peasants disappearing. Despite the rescue and subsequent accidental death of one of said aforementioned farmers, (Alas, poor Kevin, I knew him well…) we defeated the ruinous powers lurking beneath the fortress and freed the land from its malignant influence. It was a good time and lots of fun.

Now there are some very nice reinforcements on the painting table for our upcoming ZONA ALFA campaign, modern Russians and Chechens sculpted by Igor Karpov for SASM.  (Igor is the putty genius behind Lead Adventure Miniature’s ‘Last Project’ post-apocalyptic figs.)  That means six full crews should be entering the Zone some time in November.

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In the meantime, I’ve discovered the dark fantasy RPG ‘Symbaroum’. Created by Jarnringen in Sweden, I was first captivated by the artwork’s brooding menace and melancholy. Now games don’t always live up to the marketing, but I took a chance on a hard copy of the rules. Fortunate for me, this one did. In fact, this game is downright excellent.

I’ll spare you the review – there are plenty of good ones circulating on the inter-webs already – but suffice it to say the mechanics are smooth and solid, and translate easily to the tabletop – which is important for me, a long time war gamer. Having said that though, I want to stress Symbaroum is about story telling, not loot and leveling – which is important to me as a writer.  The back-story and aesthetic of Ambria and Davokar is dark and rich, a gold mine of inspiration. I confess that in 40+ years of hobby gaming, I don’t recall ever being this intrigued by a game setting.

So, while I catch up on glass work and brush my way through the painting queue, I’ll be running a one shot adventure titled ‘The Gloaming Roads’. Basically a treasure hunt, I wrote it up after  reading the rule book and advanced players guide. It’s an introduction to the game and world. To make things easier, the players start out a couple levels up, sort of seasoned adventurers entering the forest of Davokar for the first time.

I can post specifics if there is interest but for now, here are some pictures of our first session and the player characters.

You can click on the images for larger versions, but basically you can see a town near the forest, a Barbarian Mystic, a Changeling Hunter, a Cleric of Prios, an Ogre Fighter, an Ordo Magica wizard, and an Ambrian Man-at-Arms.

The next episode of The Gloaming Roads is slated for Tuesday evening. More on that as it develops.  For now, I’ll leave you with this:

When the Moon’s Womb is ripe, the Lone Gates open

By Blood and Root, the Learned may stride the Gloaming Roads

That span the breadth of sacred Symbaroum.

 

 

Have a good weekend.

ZONA ALFA: Bunker Raid

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Very quick game last Tuesday night as two small teams raided an old military bunker, each hoping to secure either the main objective, (a damaged heavy armor exo-suit) or a small cache of supplies.

Played in a three by four mission area, Bandits were already present at the site and waiting on their own technician to recover the suit. In game terms, this simply means the Hot Spots were considered already triggered and the Hostiles were visible.

John and Matt’s men took on Derek and Max’s. It was a short, sharp fight, with UBGL on Matt/John’s crew Boss’ AK74 proving itself very effective. Good dice rolls allowed them to steamroll over the battlefield, so straightforward as to be undramatic. They not only cleared the Bandits in no time flat but put a hurting on Derek/Max’s lads too. Both objectives, gear and salvage, easy win for them.

 

The guys will be making permanent crews soon and I have reinforcements inbound in the shape of  some Special Artizan Service Miniature figs. Until then we’ll DnD our way through the next couple weeks. Our 4th level party currently consists of a Tiefling Sorcerer, a Human Rogue, a Dual-Wield Fighter, and a Dragonborn Paladin. Other Pat is keeping us in the dark about his character. Pictures as it all happens.

Oh and courtesy of the nice folks at DP9, the Cape Cod Wargame Commission has some Heavy Gear Blitz in its future.

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ZONA ALFA: Refinery 13

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Last night saw the Cape Cod Wargame Commission play testing the ZONA ALFA rules. Two crews battled to control the remaining fuel in Refinery 13 in the south-west quadrant of the Exclusion Zone. A Threat Level 1 Area, or Blue area, there were two Hot Spots plus the Mission Objective. (markers are 7.62 x 39mm dummy rounds)

 

Ivan’s Bunch and Pavel’s Crew were kitted out similarly, each with one Leader, a shotgun-wielding Close Combat specialist, a Medic, and comrades with SMGs and AK-74. The Leaders armed up different: one with an AK74 with an under-barrel grenade launcher, the other opting for a scoped AK-15 Battle Rifle.

The crews filled their Equipment Slots differently too: Pavel’s lads went with pretty standard load-out, med-kits and such. Ivan’s Bunch went heavy on grenades and E-Juice. (amphetamine and vodka with a twist of lime) Seven Turn Limit, deployment in the back 6″ of their respective table edges, and the fight is on.

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First Turn saw crews slinking along buildings toward the secondary Hot Spots and jockeying for better angles and lanes of fire.

Turn 2 someone on Ivan’s team had the bright idea to Bolt Toss the Main Objective and trigger the Zone Hostile – a mutant.

Meanwhile one of Pavel’s men does the same to the Hot Spot with the dead Stalker. Two zombies spawned nearby out of the nearby garage and charged him.

“A little help, comrades!”

 

On the far side of the table, Ivan’s shotgunner faces down the Mutant! (they may not have range, but up close they’ll drop just about anything)

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Pavel dropped one of Ivan’s men who was on the office balcony and Ivan sees a chance to bloop a grenade on three of Pavel’s men who, after taking down the zombies, stood around it the open congratulating themselves.

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Mutant down in the center, a couple of Ivan’s boys trigger the nearby secondary Hot Spot. Feral dogs rush out of the shadows of the complex but good rolls from the SMG turn them into puppy chow.

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An Emission imminent, the game ended with Pavel ordering three of his men to fall back while he chased Ivan into the first floor of the office.

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Final Tally: One crew member down on each side. Ivan’s crew gets Advances and Salvage from the Mission Objective and one Secondary Hot Spot. Pavel’s boys manage to take the Salvage and a pair of Binoculars from the dead Stalker Hot Spot. Not great, not bad: another hard day’s work in the Exclusion Zone.

***

Lessons learned:

ZONA ALFA is deadly, no doubt about it. Med-kits and Medics help, but cover is your friend. Smoke grenades come in handy too.In a regular campaign, expendable items like grenades and med kits would need to be re-stocked between games, AND casualties would need to be replaced by new recruits.

Movement, combat, morale checks all that went smoothly.  To speed up the pace with two commanders per team, each side could activate up to two models per Activation.  Altho we’re asking for donations to buy a Chess clock for certain commanders who strategize too much between turns. *cough, cough* Matt. *cough*

All in all, the Zone smiled on our efforts. More next week.

Thanks.

 

ps – minor mods to make reinforcements. Crooked Dice soldiers with Pig Iron heads.

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Shameless Plug: If any company wants to see their 28mm Russian figs in action, we’d be happy to take some, color ’em up, and use them in the Zone. Contact me here and we’ll feature them in a post and Bat Rep.

Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

Pix from last night’s game in the new war room.

A NEW WAR ROOM

Moving the hobby game room down into the basement took a while, what with preliminary clean up and then physical transfer of well, everything. But it is more or less complete. I’m pressed for time today but here are photos of last night’s Zona Alfa game in the new digs.

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4′ x 8 table with new 4′ x 6′ game mat. Props to Pat for help with the table.

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Long angle of ruined city on new PWork mat.

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Another angle. Thanks to Matt for the overhead LEDs

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Salvage at a Hot Spot

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A pair Stalkers facing down feral dogs

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Rats lurk in the dump near the Cell Tower.

Here’s the adjacent Painting and Storage Room

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New painting desk is already crowded

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Some terrain shelves

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Miniatures. With more in figure cases, and of course a bunch yet-to-be-painted in boxes under the table.

That’s it for now. Gotta hunker down as there’s ANOTHER storm coming. *sigh*

Have a great weekend.