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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Borderwars 2016

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Bug players issue orders to their arthropod troops!

I had a very enjoyable weekend in Kansas City at Borderwars Convention. A small miniatures heavy event hosted by HMGS I ran Hive and the Flame for two sessions and had a total of about ten players
Aerial unit movement stand

Aerial unit movement stand with six armed and armored assault landers

The first session was Friday evening and consisted of the initial air phase of the final assault on the Hive. In a couple of hours we played four turns with the action being between two flights of armed landers an a massive swarm of flying lancers. The armed landers were unable to keep away from the cloud of winged arthropods and although the humans were able to whittle the wasp like bugs’ numbers down significantly with automatic weapons fire could not prevent the chitenous invaders from boarding.
"Good Lord! They are all over us!" The flying lancers swarm all over human armed landers.

“Good Lord! They are all over us!” The flying lancers swarm all over human armed landers.

At that point the aliens began to take a toll on the assault craft. They destroyed most of a flight and damaged a number of others in the second flight.
"I saw the assault ships burning over the Hive"

“I saw the assault ships burning over the Hive”

Only one of the flights escaped the aerial melee unscathed. As that group entered the range of the Supra Major shooters its luck ran out and very quickly two of its six ships were hit and destroyed. With the surviving landers from this squadron about to touch down, supported by the fire from a pair of Shakespeare class rocket armed gunboats we broke for the night.
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A Shakespeare rocket armed gunship begins making its attack run.

We picked the game up the next afternoon (as the morning was taken up by a large lovely 15mm Napoleonic game-in which most attendees played or watched).
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Terrain ready for the troops of Napoleon

While that as going on I ended up purchasing a number of deeply discounted Flames of War products including an armored locomotive and a pair of tank hunter railcars, some land mattress rocket launchers, a German anti tank aircraft (soon to be converted into a tilt rotor craft for HQC) and three sets of craters (the last of which were immediately put on the table!)
Once play started up again the human players wasted no time in trying to get their remaining landers on the ground and their troops in. They did lose one more lander to the last of the flying bugs, which were finally wiped out in turn. One of the Shakespeares came under heavy ground fire and down to its last damage point was forced to withdraw.
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Down by the stern and heavily aflame the Othello tries to limp from the battle before she is destroyed

A flight of ornithopters came in to support the landing and attempted to suppress the bug shooters and was roughly handled, with four of its six machines being downed.
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Downed Ornithopter by Flames of War craters. Bug shooter units stand ready near their victim to fire their next salvo.

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When the landers hit the top of the hive they were immediately met by swarms of warrior bugs which attempted to overrun the machines before they could disgorge their troops. The defensive fire from the landers was able to thin out the attackers and the close assault on the armored landers resulted in heavy bug casualties and no machines destroyed.
As the First Aerial Divisions troops began to debus the Hive’s Queen and King as well as numerous larva were forced to the surface. This gave the humans a clear and critical target, but the giant aliens tunneled up well away from the landing zone. A second flight of ornithopers attacked the royal personages but was unable to do much damage and were heavily engaged by bug shooters who downed two machines.
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Players try and determine if the miniature is the “King” or the “Queen”. It turns out sexing giant alien arthropods is far more difficult than might be assumed.

The troops which came roaring out of the landing craft were quickly engaged in melee by the surviving bug warriors near the landing zone and although they suffered heavy casualties were able to clear away the remaining units from the landing zone.
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Three types of aerial craft drive towards the landing zones

By this time the con was winding down and the game was called. It was too close to call and a draw was declared.
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Awesome custom game tables from a Kansas City based company. This one is cherry!

There were a lot of good learning and ideas thrown around, which will help with future games
Generally the new movement stands worked pretty darned well and did their job.
Put “plates” on the flying movements stands so that when bugs melee with a flyer they can be more easily placed there.
Make identification of flying bug swarms and individual flyers easier
Possibly use the new plates to put a small damage chart
Tactically if you are a human don’t let the bugs melee with you EVER
If you are a bug player melee with unarmed flyers not the ones with four 1 pdr pom poms
For the Shakespeares, once they get in good rocket range salvo the entire war load of 48 rockets. Divide them between as many Supra Major shooter units as practical. At medium range the rockets hit on a 1-8 on a D20 and each rocket draws 16 cards. That means 12 rockets are likely to destroy a unit of three surpa major shooters.
Bug shooters should concentrate their fire on single machines, it is better to kill a smaller number of machines than to damage several
Killing landers in the air kills the troops inside
We’ve played with a number of “fast convention” rules so this is what we will be using in the future
Machines are only damaged (depending upon the size of the machine) on “kill” results i.e. hearts or Jokers in ranged combat
Machines are damaged (depending upon the size of the machine) on “kill” results in Melee
Machines require several “forced back” results in melee (depending upon the size of the machine) to be forced back-this is new, up till now we’ve played that machines can be forced back on a single forced back result of are never forced back
There needs to be an easier way to track machines in combat
The game runs faster the more players there are (well within reason)

Bugs General Roosevelt, Millions of them!

I have two weekends left before Border Wars. I have much to do. I have to finish all the aerial movement stands (pictures of those will be forthcoming). I think I have all the human troops I’ll be needing for this first convention of 2016 all based flocked and in their transport containers. I’m trying to get enough Bugs to face the human onslaught. One thing that the bugs usually suffer is a lack of ranged combat critters. I’m working hard fill this gap

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Hand cast media shooters for The Hive. These are from my designs and Scott Flowers’ original sculpts

In addition the bugs will need a lot of command and control drones. These are Khurasan’s Mantis Men in 15mm. These are really great little sculpts and paint up nicely.

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The yellow figures on top are Khurasan’s Mantis Men, The “rolly-polly” looking brown figures are some out of production Gaming Figures Inc. generic bugs.

To increase the Hive’s close in combat power I’ve added a number of units of “trappers” these are like enormous ant lion larva; burried just below the ground they remain hidden until their enemies come to them. These old GFI figures will be Media Trappers. The Supra Major Trappers are getting worked on as well. Wait till folks see what ancient miniatures I have pulled out of the box for them!

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Ral Partha Head Hangers from the old Runequest line. Now cast by Iron Wind Enterprises

Finally there are these old Ral Partha Runequest figures. I believe they are Head Hangers. I omitted their trophies and now these will be Supra Major Crushers