Tuesday, 14 March 2017

I ex-spectre you to die!

Another cracking game of Spectre Operations today at Entoyment! After the last small game we fancied trying something a little bigger, so this week we knocked up a hostage rescue scenario featuring a professional rescue team against 2 teams of trained troops with a back-up squad of 5 tooled-up professionals.

The Rescue team

2 x 4 man professional fire team, equipped with a selection of kitted out carbines, scoped assault rifles and SMGs, carrying smoke and stun grenades.

1 professional commander w/ carbine

1 x 2 man sniper team w/ crew served sniper rifle and carbine

The Villainous hostage takers

2 x 3 man trained hostage guard fire team w/ carbine, scoped carbine and either SMG or combat shotgun

1 x 5 man professional fire team w/ 3 carbines, 1 SMG and 1 compact LMG, all with sights and lasers, and 1 pirate gun.

The Hostages

2 professional hostages guarded by 1 guard team each, equipped with a pistol once released.

The Table

We set up a cluster of buildings in the centre, based on the road layout on the mat we were using. Some had fenced gardens, while the rest of the board was roughed up from heavy shelling and fortifying. The hostages were deployed in 2 of the buildings near the centre.

The board from the attacker's entry edge

The rescue squad moving in
The hostage guards started unalert, while their backup squad was unalert in the opposite corner to the rescue squad's entry point and would join the battle once alerted.

The battle...

...was pretty brutal! The rescue squad had an early success, moving up on hostage building 1 and performing a tasty flanking action; the 3 hostage guards surrounded the stairs up to the hostage room on overwatch, but neglected to watch the outside road through the window they were stood a little too close to. One turn of shooting saw all 3 put down, and the first hostage quickly freed.

Using smoke to cover their advance, the rescue squad clear building 1 in short order. 
This was the start of the real battle, as the professional hostage takers began hurrying up to the building hostage 2 was held in. The 2 hostage guards inside the building took cover to avoid the snipers while the rescue team moved towards them, then began duelling with the rescue team's commander. He put up a brave showing, but eventually went down to a catastrophic wound.

The rest of the rescue team met with the hostage takers around the square, and to cut a long story short there was much violence, shooting, surpression and wounds caused. The rescue team took very heavy fire but set up for an FCO which made the hostage takers fall back in to the house to avoid the punishment. Attacking the building was tough, and saw several rescuers shot and exploded, but eventually they came through and the hostage taker commander was knocked out in close combat. With the rest of his force dead, victory went to the rescuers!

This was a great game with a lot of scary moments for both sides; 1 turn of short range shooting saw 3 dead and a whole lot of surpression on both sides. The initiative and alternating phases really work well with the rules, as losing initiative lets you avoid potential damage but forces some tough decisions about whether to stand and fight or fall back. There were 2 key moments that highlighted this:

 - the rescue team combat sprinted to close in on the building before the hostage takers could set up their defence. As I had lost initiative, I could then pop my forces out for a turn of easy shooting with little comeback.

 - the rescue team set up an 8-man FCO on my wounded professional squad when they won initiative; I had to fall back which saved my men but gave away a lot of ground for the next turn and left me out of position.

It was also nice to use some slightly larger forces, that allowed us to introduce some more rules like breaking down into smaller teams. For the next game we're going to look at list building (up to now we've just been using the models as they're equipped and throwing forces together), and possibly some off-table assets.

Rescue commander down, forces about to clash

Death and surpression left, right and centre

1 dead, 1 bleeding and 3 getting nervous

2 down and bleeding and the others shaken, but backup is on the way

Both forces regroup ready to clash again

Charging up a guarded staircase is a recipe for death

I've also been continuing development of our modern day terrain range, and the eagle eyed will have spotted a new small house and different fence design in this battle. The new prototype is the first of 3 to complement the larger McMansions, designed in the Scandinavian style. As with the other buildings, this will be an initial range of 3 variants.

More pics will be on Facebook so like our page to keep up with all the developments!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Boarding action, yarrrrrrr...

2017, what the hell?!

I'll be doing a proper update on the state of the Warmill nation later, but as a taster here is a game I played down at Entoyment last night. The game is Spectre Operations (SO), a proper modern day ruleset that mixes nice and fast gameplay with a shopping list of guns, vehicles and equipment to satisfy the frothiest loot-fiend (I'll write a longer love letter to the game further down the line, but this our comeback special so I'll keep it tidy!).

Our game was a boarding action operation on a luxury yacht; the owners have been taken hostage by villainous pirates, and a small squad of special forces has been despatched to rescue them or die trying! Inserting by dinghy onto the launch deck, the rescue team must fight their way up through the decks for a final face-off with the big bad pirate guy currently enjoying mojitos on the sun deck with his closest henchmen.

To recreate that proper video game level feeling (and in the grand tradition of making up the scenario on the spot! :D), the pirate player's troops would get stronger on every deck the rescue team fought through. On the bottom deck they were 6 simple militiamen (the lowest level of soldier in SO) with assault rifles and nothing else, pretty much cannon fodder for the highly equipped elite operator rescue team. On the next deck up they would be trained (the second skill level), then professional on the next (almost as skilled as the rescue team), and finally on the roof the rescue team (if they make it) will confront the elite operator pirate boss and his two elite bodyguards.

The map for the game was a large mat, printed at very short notice and for a very reasonable price on lovely PVC banner media by Jon at Printroom 105 (he also makes aeroplanes!). I can't claim credit for the idea (that goes to Alex on the SO facebook group), google provided a nice hi-res image of a yacht floorplan in glorious colour. To make it even easier, the various parts of the render were colour coded which helped us define how it would work in the game, eg soft cover, hard cover, sight blocking, etc.


I took control of the pirates using my SO deniable ops figures, while Ben had his SO navy SEAL devgru team, kitted out with body armour, red dot and laser sights, flashbang grenades, breaching charges, a compact LMG, SMG and a vicious attack dog. The SEAL team started at the landing deck while I deployed my hapless militia around the engine room, the toilet (a running theme), and other quarters.

The SEAL team made short work of the lowly grunts, mopping them up with no losses.

On to the second deck, where the professional pirates were relaxing at the bar, in the sauna, on the toilet and out on the rear deck. Half the rescue team took the inside stairs to flank around through a narrow corridor, while the other half took the outside stairs to appear by the hot tub which became the scene of a grisly attack dog-pirate throat interactive scenario. Lots of flashbang grenades and LMG fire saw the deck cleared with little trouble.

The spiral staircase ran through the entire ship, but there were plenty of other routes between decks as well. For the assault on the bridge the whole rescue squad braved the staircase and cleared the deck in good order, with only the LMG man nearly getting plugged.

With a full rescue squad it looked like the assault on the roof was going to be pretty easy, but the pirates' overwatch, steadied weapons and winning the initiative at the right time meant it turned into a bloodbath, with the last kill going to the dog with a final bodycount of 3 throats and the handler being the last operator standing.

We had time to play a second round where I took my SO SWAT team, kitted out much the same only with a combat shotgun replacing the LMG of the SEAL team, while Ben used his SO tier 1 operators as the PMC pirates. The first deck was cleared quickly, but I lost one guy to a trained soldier on the second deck then completely fluffed the assault on the bridge; I sent two guys to the front to fire through the bridge windows then realised 2 of my squad wouldn't be able to reach the deck this turn! While they did their best, by the time the deck was clear I only had 2 operators left, one of whom had to spend a turn recovering from a wound before they could stack up ready to attack the roof.

The wait to recover gave the pirate boss and his boys time to set overwatch, so when the SWAT team charged they were up against it. The carbine trooper was downed quickly with a serious wound that gave him two turns of shaky pistol fire before losing consciousness, while the SMG trooper managed to plug the big boss but was brought down by the other two henchmen (after some outrageous defence rolls from Ben!).

All in all, the games were brilliant fun and I'd try it again in a heartbeat. Once we'd worked out some of the foibles of the terrain, like where the stairs went and what counted as what cover, it was fast, furious and very bloody. The tight quarters were a very different game to our last match, and it was nice to use a different set of tools. I think Spectre's rules are perfect for this sort of fast action and quick scenario making, and it honestly felt like a Call of Duty game the whole way through. We've discussed races with players taking their own custom teams and trying to set a best time to clear the boat, or exanding the map to include the rescue team speeding in on boats while helisnipers pin the pirates down. This is my favourite thing about Spectre's rules; the feel of the rules really makes you want to try these lairy balls-to-the-wall scenarios!

I'll be posting more soon, including a few other games we've played, and more stuff about Warmill and what we're working on, so stay tuned!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

2015? When did it become 2015?

So apparently it's now over halfway through 2015 and I haven't blogged in 9 months! What the hell, me. Given that exciting things have happened and will be happening I suppose a roundup is in order...

My hobby
Bit of a poor showing on the purchasing front so far this year! While I've picked up the odd bit of Infinity here and there (mmmm Geckos...) a lack of gaming time has meant not many new toys have found their way into my drawer of shame.

The introduction of N3 for Infinity and the need to re-read a rulebook that is a) different enough to what I knew to need reading, yet b) similar enough to be really boring to read, has really hampered the amount of gaming I've managed this year (a total of 3 games and a tournament!). I did move on from the good old Ariadna to re-start my Military Order but so far they've got a grey primer coat and little else. I picked up a couple of Crusader Brethren, the Hospitaller HMG, the Knights of Santiago and the new Joan of Arc model that came with Angel Giraldez's painting book just to complete the set.

The only model painted so far :D

  Apart from the Infinity models, I did pick up an awesome figure at Salute (from a stand manned by Jeremie Bonamant no less!). Jack from Da Clash, a game by Ammon Miniatures, a very characterful figure that I got for pure painting pleasure.

Wot we been making
Well the big release this year has been the C.A.S.Hstak (that's Comfortable And Spacious Housing. Stak) city block range. We figured it was about time our poor citizens of the future stopped living in cramped little pods and got some proper accommodation for themselves! With the release of this set an entire Warmill city is now very achievable, and we've already seen a few complete tables showing up (helped by the mega sale we ran to coincide with the release).

The Mega Mansion

A customer's collection, absolutely awesome!

We also released the RUM Outpost, a replacement for the old but apparently not mourned Security Compound, our second ever terrain kit! This range consists of 2 types of Lander building and a modular fence kit that incorporates parts that were originally intended as an upgrade for the old kit, and can be seen in some pictures a few posts below this one.

Or here, with a tiny man in the middle!

What's next then?

Good question. With the introduction of a city block set we've hit stage 3 of our colony range, from rough and ready PUPs, up to mid-range MULEs and RIBD bars, to actual nice housing! Now it's time for the gentrification of those horrible old colonies, so expect posh shops and posher homes. We're experimenting with using coloured card cladding for newer kits, to allow us to produce a) more interesting shapes and b) pre-coloured kits. The focus will be glamour kits (RIBD_4 bar-style) and smaller scatter pieces. 

We're also hoping to see the end of the 3D printer tale of woe shortly, which will allow us to get back on with producing our robots, and start modelling up some new items. Ed in particular has been hard at work modelling all sorts of interesting resin gubbins that will be great for terrain modellers.

I've been re-visiting my Zbrush education to make sure that when we do get our new printer we can churn out some nice figures. No designs fixed yet but areas we'd like to visit include sci-fi civvies to fill the streets of Warmill city.

As a personal project I've been experimenting with game design, whether it ever becomes a product who knows, but I've been enjoying the theory-crafting! The project's been about designing games that involve no luck at all, just tactics. No dice, no cards, just the player's control of their units.

Right now I'm working on a set of scatter terrain street furniture which will be our next release, still at the prototyping stage but they should be ready before too long. Make sure to like our facebook page for more frequent updates.

Thanks for everybody's support during the past year, and to all those customers who kept us so busy after the mega sale!

Harry, Ed and Lisa

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Together at last

Both mech prototypes have been painted by Ed, here's a selection of photos of the pair of them together to whet your appetites, along with an Infinity model for scale.

Due to a snafu with the printer only the spider mech is likely to be ready for Crisis, the heavy mech will probably have to wait until Warfare in mid-November.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Prototype no2

Hot off the 3D printer is the second robot awaiting imminent release!

We finally got the correct scale this time! (only took 3 goes!) - but hey, that's what printers are for, right?!

Now we're happy with the proof, including scale, proportions, overall design - we can begin to print the masters using a different process, most importantly - at a much higher resolution!

Tomorrow i'll try and get some colour on this thing, then they can both be pwning nabs on the battlefield!

Enjoy the pics!