ScrapYard Armory

A BattleTech weblog

Aug-26-2015

Tukayyid – GenCon 2015

This battle was part of the Battle of Tukayyid fought at GenCon 2015.  This was a break out game which featured a smaller side battle that would have an impact on the main game depending on who won.  My thanks go out to my opponent and the Catalyst Demo Agents for putting on a great show and allowing us to participate in this great battle.

Choke Point – Canyon Pass

This canyon is a vital pass to extend supply lines.  Whoever controls this pass will have a distinct advantage, moving supplies and troops easily.Tukayyid - - 1

Which ever side wins the scenario controls the pass, allowing 1 lance not currently involved in a scenario to be restored to it’s original strength.

Clan Wolf

  • MadCat
  • Vulture
  • Cauldon-Born
  • Blackhawk
  • Huntsman

Tukayyid - - 2Comstar

  • Flashman
  • Shootist
  • Thug
  • Crab
  • Black Knight
  • Rommel Tank

 

Turn 1 – Clans Win InitiativeTukayyid - - 3

The opening turn has both sides move forward but do not find line of sight among the canyon walls.  Comstar splits its forces between the high and low ground.  The Shootist, Black Knight, and Rommel take the low road leaving the Crab, Flashman, and Thug to cover the high ground.  The Clans overload the high ground, leaving only the Blackhawk to contest low.

No shots fired as there was no line of sight.

Tukayyid - - 5Tukayyid - - 4

Turn 2 – Clans Win InitiativeTukayyid - - 6

All forces advance and begin to jockey for position among the tall cliffs and abutments of the canyon.  Both players do their best to hug the walls for cover while attempting to group long range shots against those caught even slightly out of position.

The resulting barrage of long range shots is sporadic and ineffective.  A bit of paint gets scratched but both forces shrug off the damage.

Tukayyid - - 8Tukayyid - - 9

Turn 3 – Clans Win Initiative

Being cautious, the Clans actually back up, attempting to rely on long range shots to whittle the Comstar forces down.  Comstar returns the favor and keeps its distance while opening up some firing lines.

Weapons fire is again only semi effective.  The Black Hawk is able to score two hits against the Shootist while suffering only minor arm damage in reply.  Up top, the Vulture takes the brunt of the Comstar attack but looks no worse for wear.  The Flashman is brutalized by concentrated Clan weapons fire.  The right torso is stripped of armor and a medium laser is blasted into scrap.

Tukayyid - - 10Turn 4 – Inner Sphere Win Initiative

The action begins in earnest as the Comstar forces in the bottom of the canyon are set upon by a daring Blackhawk pilot riding high on it’s jump jets.  On the upper level, the Clan forces rush forward and tighten up to line up shots on the forward leaning Flashman.

Both forces unleash hell.  The Blackhawk eats an AC20 slug to the right torso, losing a medium pulse laser and a heatsink in the process.  The Vulture is brutalized by accurate and concentrated fire from the Comstar forces.  Armor is slagged off in tons.  While the spread of damage is quite even, internal damage claims an SRM launcher and a hip actuator.

Return fire from the Clans is awful.  Shots go wide early and often.  Only a few shots land true only to find fresh armor.

The Blackhawk falls under the onslaught and is kicked in the leg.

Tukayyid - - 11Tukayyid - - 13

Tukayyid - - 14Turn 5 – Clans Win Initiative

The Clan Vulture digs deep and rushes the Comstar line.  He positions himself against the canyon walls and a perilous cliff edge to block off any possible forward movement.  Remaining Clan forces follow up behind and form a line to assault the Comstar forces.

The Blackhawk uses the initiative win to back off behind a rock formation to lick its wounds.  The Shootist and Black Knight position themselves as best they can while the Rommel plows forward hoping to find a ramp to join the battle at the top of the canyon.

The relative position of forces against the varied canyon terrain forces the Clans to split fire against targets of opportunity.

The MadCat and Cauldron-Born target the Shootist and slag armor but find no crits.  The Shootist replies back and lands an AC20 slug to the Cauldron-Born.  Staggered, the Cauldron-Born falls.

Leading the charge, the Vulture takes more damage scattered against its already battered frame.  A final shot manages to find both ammunition and engine criticals, silencing the great machine.

Tukayyid - - 15Tukayyid - - 16Tukayyid - - 17

Turn 6 – Inner Sphere Win InitiativeTukayyid - - 18

The Clans charge forward, maintaining a tight conga line facing the bulk of the Comstar forces in the top of the canyon.  By now the Shootist and Black Knight are circling back into the battle and collapsing into the flank of the charging Clan force.  Even the Rommel has located a suitable ramp (albiet further out of the way than desirable) to enable it to join the high ground.

The Cauldron-Born takes a ferocious pounding and slags off armor leaving only its center torso in decent shape.  A LRM launcher and an engine take critical hits.  The Black Knight lines up shots on the MadCat and finds a kink in the armor (TAC) in the left torso which ignites machine gun ammunition.  As a final insult to injury, even the Rommel scores a long range autocannon hit against the reeling Blackhawk.

The Clans focus all possible fire on the Flashman and decimate it.  The torso crumples and explodes under the deadly barrage.  Other opportunity fire targets the Crab and crits a shoulder actuator.

Tukayyid - - 19Tukayyid - - 20Tukayyid - - 21

Turn 7 – Clans Win InitiativeTukayyid - - 22

The Clans force the issue and continue to press against the Comstar forces.  In return the Comstar forces dance around and end up in a semi circle with guns at the ready.  The Blackhawk takes a chance and jumps behind the Shootist.

Comstar splits fire on the MadCat and Cauldorn born.  Weapons fire is on the mark and pummels the MadCat.  An AC20 slug at medium range is the last straw and sees the Clan ‘Mech crumple in a heap.  The Cauldorn-Born suffers a similar fate and succumbs to multiple criticals and a final ammo explosion.

The Clans rain fire into the Crab but somehow find only armor to slag off.  Both side torsos are crushed but the ‘Mech remains operational.

The Blackhawk suffers some damage from the Rommel while it unloads into the Shootist.  No criticals despite a few new holes in the Shootist’s rear.

Both the Crab and Shootist fall.  The Blackhawk takes the opportunity to kick the downed ‘Mech but finds only armor for his trouble.

Tukayyid - - 23Tukayyid - - 24Tukayyid - - 26Tukayyid - - 25

Turn 8 – Inner Sphere Win InitiativeTukayyid - - 27

Sensing the end, the Clan forces muster their final courage and stand their ground against the quickly enveloping Comstar forces.

The remaining Clan forces concentrate all fire power on the Shootist.  The Clan weapons finally seem to begin hitting their mark.  A double through armor critical combines for 4 torso criticals yielding a gyro and 3 engines.

Return fire from Comstar buries the Blackhawk.  The Huntsman is almost cored out leaving only a shell of a ‘Mech left standing.

Tukayyid - - 28Tukayyid - - 29Tukayyid - - 30

The End

At this point the game is called in favor of the victorious Comstar forces.  A great game with a lot of interesting interaction with the terrain.  The way the canyon dictated line of sight made for several very strategic moves by both sides.  I don’t think either of us expected such a tactical treat on such a map.

Congrats to my winning opponent and a well played game!

Posted under After Action Report
Aug-3-2015

GenCon 2015 Day 4

GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 3

The last day of GenCon is always a little bitter sweet.  It’s been a great convention.  I’ve played lots of great games, saw some old friends, and made a few new ones.

Iron Wind Metals

I finally got around to doing my shopping at the Iron Wind Metals booth.  They had an impressive display as always.  LAMs were in abundant.  Convention exclusives lined the shelves.  TRO Lance Packs were packaged and waiting to be bought.

Also on hand were lots of different resin terrain packs.  Some from XMarxs and more from other sources.  Always good to see a variety of options.

I ended up picking up a Poseidon PSD-V2, a few Rabid Coyotes, a Mortis, and a few shipping containing/building models that looked interesting and easy to paint. Expect to see a few future posts on these hobby projects.

GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 16GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 15GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 17GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 18

A Friendly Sign

One thing I forgot to mention, while playing in the Alpha Strike game I was admiring the paint jobs on the ‘Mechs we were using.  Honestly it looked almost familiar if you could say such a thing about painted ‘Mechs.  Sure enough I flip over the ‘Mech to see the underside of the hex base and I see the signature of a friend from New Jersey, Friedrich Haas.  If you are are reading this, it was great to play with your minis at GenCon!

GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 4GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 5

Wrapping Up

I spent what little time I had remaining in Indy to playtest a game in the First Exposure room.  I played a quick little card game called Farms and Factories.  It was fast playing and had some very satisfying game play.  On that note, I have to say that this playtest area was a fantastic idea fantastically executed.  That room was well organized and run.  I love the idea and to see it done so well really felt good.  I would love to see this similar concept spread to other conventions.

After that, I got a chance to demo a few more games prior to heading off to the airport.  I got to sample the Portal game from Cryptozoic (fast paced game with some interesting mechanics, I’ll be watching for it in the fall), Dark Moon by Stronghold Games (fun but requires a good bit of skill to avoid suiciding as the non-infected), and M.E.R.Cs Recon from MegaCon Games (Co-operative objective based urban combat with loads of minis).

GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 1GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 2GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 6GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 8

GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 7GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 10GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 9GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 11

GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 13GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 12GenCon 2015 Day 4 -  - 14

I had a great time and I only hope I can make it out again soon.  Time will tell.

Posted under Convention
Aug-1-2015

GenCon 2015 Day 3

Saturday is often the longest and most rewarding day of GenCon.  I started bright and early and took in a playtest game in a special area of the con devoted to games that are not yet fully baked.  This was a great idea.  I had a blast playing The Coterie, an in-development dungeon crawler with a rather unique combat dice resolution mechanic.

I managed to play a lot of games today and had a lot of fun.  GenCon never seems to disappoint.

Alpha Strike

Around mid day I took in a game of Alpha Strike.  A Marik and Kurita company faced off to take over a bridge in the center of the battlefield.  For a two hour time slot I felt the game went wonderfully.  The Marik side lost on the last turn by a single point.  From the force balance to the objective based scenario we were able to battle things out to a very satisfying conclusion inside of the two hours we were scheduled.  Kudos to the demo team for a great event.

GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Alpha Strike - 1GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Alpha Strike - 2GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Alpha Strike - 3GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Alpha Strike - 4

Tukayyid

In the evening I settled down for a side mission in support of the Tukayyid storyline game.  I played a Clan Wolf star against a reinforced ComStar lance.  I fought bravely but alas, the dice were not with the poor Clans.  Congrats to my opponent Elliot for securing victory and allowing the Inner Sphere forces on the main board to receive a repair action (even though it was too late in the evening to make use of it.).

Expect to see a full After Action Report in the near future once I have some time to catch my breath from the weekend.

GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Tukayyid - 1GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Tukayyid - 2GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Tukayyid - 3GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Tukayyid - 4 GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Tukayyid - 5GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Tukayyid - 6GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Tukayyid - 7

GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Tukayyid - 8GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Tukayyid - 9

Battle the Masters

The Masters were on hand to take on the best and brightest the fan world could muster. I did not stay late enough to see the conclusion but everyone seemed to be having a blast.  Add to that an ample supply of free pizza supplied by Catalyst and you have a recipe for a memorable end to the convention.

GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Battle the Masters - 1GenCon 2015 Day 3 - Battle the Masters - 2

All the RestGenCon 2015 Day 3 - nm - 1

I spent a good amount of my time wandering the exhibit hall taking in the sights and demoing new games that caught my eye.  There were lots of neat looking miniature games but I feel I don’t have the time to play what I have to justify bringing in any other minis into the mix.  There is only so much time for BattleTech as it is so I tried to keep my eye out for board games and the like which did not have the same need for hobby time.

There were a lot of new companies and unique games to see.  The one board game that I felt really stood out was Fantasy Flight Games’ Mission to Mars.  It is a secret role selection and worker placement/manipulation game where you are flinging astronauts into space and moving them around to conquer the vital resources on the planet Mars.  Lots of fun and ample opportunity for shenanigans.

Runner up was Nevermore, a fast playing set collection card game where your death may be only the beginning of your opportunities to screw with your buddies.

GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 01GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 02GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 03GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 04 GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 05GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 06GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 07GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 08 GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 09GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 10GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 11GenCon 2015 Day 3 - misc - 12

Posted under Convention
Jul-31-2015

GenCon 2015 Day 2

GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 14GenCon ramped up for Friday and I kept super busy as the weekend marched along.  I scheduled myself for some more non-BattleTech events during the day but stopped by to check out the Catalyst game section from time to time so keep an eye on what was going on.

Events (Grinders, Boot Camps, Tukayyid, Oh my!)

All of the Catalyst events seemed very well attended.  I was glad to have gotten the chance to enter the VR Pods on Thursday because the line to get a mission was steadily increasing over Friday.

The terrain looked great and the BattleTech tables looked busy as ever.  I am looking forward to doing some gaming Saturday night as the convention reaches its apex.

GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 21GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 20GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 19GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 18

Iron Wind Metals

I plan on having a more in depth review of IWMs presence after the convention closes.  I did get a chance to chat up some of the IWM insiders and there is a lot of great stuff on tap at the booth.

Tri-Pod super heavies are in ample supply as well as certain primitive designs, LAMs, and the LE Mortis.  I do love the jumping LE variants and the dynamic poses they bring to the table.

Behind the tables you can find a cornucopia of small scale LE or online exclusive content in the form of infantry, Battle Armor, and micro aerospace.  IWM puts on a great show everywhere I see them and I could not be happier to have the chance to shop with them.

More Diorama

Because reasons.

GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 10GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 09GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 08GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 07GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 06GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 05GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 04GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 03

All the Rest

I started my day playing in a DoomTown Reloaded qualifying tournament.  I went 2-3 with a Sloane Gang hex deck.  Regardless I had a lot of fun and finally had the chance to play against some really great competition.  I had a blast,  If you have not taken a look at this game you should.  It is an under appreciated gem in the gaming industry today.

I followed up my travels with a game of Giant Urbania and an hour of Two Rooms and a Boom.  I will probably have more to add to these titles after the con comes to a close.  For now here are some shots of the action today.

GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 23GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 22GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 17GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 16GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 15GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 13GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 12GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 11GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 02GenCon 2015 Day 2 - 01

Posted under Convention
Jul-30-2015

GenCon 2015 Day 1

GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 12

Day one in Indy is in the books.  What a day.  I had a lot of fun exploring the con and playing in some great games.

My day started at the Catalyst Booth where I was able to snag one of the limited Beta versions of Interstellar Operations.  I am really impressed with how big this book is.  It is a certified monster.  Flipping through the PDF is one thing but when you finally get to hold it in your hands you really appreciate the work that must have gone in creating it.

Catalyst Game Labs

The Catalyst booth was hoping all day and there were some products that were flying off the shelves.  Wrath of Dragons was down to about a dozen or so copies, The IO Beta were cleaned out, and other various product lines were being whittled down to low quantities.

Convention exclusives included faction dice, metal faction dice, pins, and T-shirts.  I was pleased to see an ample supply of dice available.  Even later in the day there seemed to be an opportunity to grab a few for those who wanted a pair.

GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 02 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 03 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 04

Diorama

The crew from CamoSpecs were showing off this years diorama set in the Succession Wars.  Really great work and a few easter eggs thrown in for good measure.  The pictures speak for themselves so here you go.

GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 14 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 15 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 16 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 17 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 18 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 19 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 20

What’s Up With Catalyst

The What’s Up with Catalyst was missing more than a few notable personalities.  Loren Coleman headlined the discussion and Q and A.  Randall Bills did not end up making it due to some prior commitments which I was disappointed in.GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 32

I would have taken notes but I was busy holding a video camera.  When I get a few more moments of down time I will upload the whole chat to YouTube for everyone to see for themselves.

All the Rest

Ah yes, there is all the rest.  GenCon has a lot to do besides BattleTech (not that there is anything wrong with that).  I saw a lot of cool stuff in the Exhibit hall, played in a M.E.R.Cs tournament (and lost), played a seven player BattleStar Galactica game with ALL expansions, demo’d Wrath of Dragons, and even took a ride in the Virtual Pods.

GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 01 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 06 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 09 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 10 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 11 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 26 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 27 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 28 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 30 GenCon 2015 Day 1 - 31

Posted under Convention
Jul-29-2015

GenCon 2015 Day 0

GenCon 2015 Day 0 - 01

After a long hiatus I have finally found my way back to Indy for the best four days in gaming.  I have not been able to get out to conventions as much as I like lately so I am very excited about this year.

On the BattleTech front there is a lot to be excited about.  The Interstellar Operations Beta will be available in soft cover form while supplies last.  I have my eye on scoring a copy for myself.  Iron Wind Metals never dissapoints and I’m sure to drop some heard earned cash on some new miniatures to add to the collection.

And of course there is all the rest.  I will be participating in a few tournaments this year (M.E.R.Cs and Doomtown Reloaded) as well as a smattering of board games.

Here’s to a great convention and all the fun and people who will be a part of it.  Stay tuned for daily debriefs as the convention continues.

GenCon 2015 Day 0 - 08GenCon 2015 Day 0 - 04GenCon 2015 Day 0 - 12

GenCon 2015 Day 0 - 10GenCon 2015 Day 0 - 09

Follow the fun on Flickr for all the latest as it happens.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/135097501@N04/

Posted under Convention
Jun-11-2015

Turning Points Irian Review

Irian brings us into the Dark Ages of Battletechs many eras.  Patrick Wynne is at the helm for this adventure which, from the look of the cover, promises to field a diverse collection of interested parties.  I’m excited to dive in and see what the Dark Ages has in store for the Turning Points series!

Words But a Whisper280px-Dark_Age_Turning_Points_Irian

The opening fiction opens Turning Points: Irian with a battered Capellan loyal infantry squad desperately trying to fulfill their mission in the face of their inevitable death. The secret they carry is hopefully worth their lives.  For the Chancellor.

A well written piece of fiction with a smooth flow to it.  It leaves me wanting more.  Perhaps such a story, or at least the prologue could be expanded into a BattleCorps story.  I think it would be well worth the read.

Irian

The next section covers a brief history of the planet.  While mostly unscathed from the Succession Wars, Irian was swept up in the Blakist Jihad and was held under their control almost to the end.  The Blakists, true to their nature, left some nuclear parting gifts that would thrust the planet into rebuilding for the bulk of the Dark Ages.

Of course there is a secret on Irian that only comes to light after covert operations on the planet discovers something so valuable it would attract quite the cast of characters to usher in a new wave of violence and the subsequent plot of this edition of the Turning Points PDF series.

Terrain tables cover the generic world conditions and the heavy industrial regions that are sure to be hotspots of conflict.  Optional rules are also given for terrain and weather features that are common on the planet.  Par for the course so far.

RATs

Do you like Random Assignment Tables?  Well if you do you are going to love Irian.  We have a unique twist on the regular 2D6 RAT chart we all know and love.  Mech tables go from 2 to 16 with rolls modified by a forces Equipment Level.  The highest quality rating receiving a +4 to all rolls.  To add to the fun we have sub-tables for industrial Mechs.  Vehicle and Infantry tables are here too.  As well as a special table just to cover Irtech Security forces.

There are a lot of entries from 3085 (naturally) so be prepared to find a lot of ‘Mechs you may not be used to playing with.  More fun to add to the mix in my opinion.

Campaign

Irian takes a full two and a half pages to describes the buffet of attempted invaders that took a crack at securing the now not so secret prize on Irian.  The forces taking part in the many invasions and counterattacks are splinter factions of the popular houses and clans and those who spent any time playing the MechWarrior ClickTech games will recognize them instantly.

What a cluster…  Just about everybody invited themselves to this party.  Certainly that will lead to some discontinuity in the tracks later.  What I mean is, it will probably be hard to take a single player force through all of the tracks and stay within the lines of the plot.  In that sense this makes Irian more of a replacement of the scenario books of old than a set of contiguous tracks meant for a single force.  This has been done before with the Turning Points books and is not a bad thing at all.  It scratches a particular type of itch.

Combatants

The combatants section features short bios of the major players on Irian.  Along with the usual Commanding Officer, experience level, RAT, and unit abilities we have an added equipment level which will impact RAT table results when rolling random forces.

Irian features a wide and varied mix of forces on planet.  It was quite the cluster over control of the Irian prizes.  I found the mix of unit abilities to be excellent.  There is an assortment of the standard A Time of War and Tactical Operations abilities but it does not rely on them exclusively.

Some standard abilities have slight modifications to add to the units flavor.  The original force abilities are unique and inspired.  My personnel favorite has to be the Spirit Cats who, once per track, may enter a “collective mystic experience” for a chance at a to-hit bonus for the turn.  The downside is they automatically lose initiative and the combat bonus is not guaranteed.  In fact it can even make things worse if you are not lucky.  Drugs, not even once kids…

An excellent section and well above grade so far.

Tracks

We are treated to a selection of 11 tracks to cover the battle over Irian.  This is well more than than average and continues a steady increase in the number of tracks in Turning Point PDFs.

The first thing that I noticed is that the tracks are all over the place.  With so many different forces on planet making a mess it is hard for Irian to have a focal point.  If anything, it would have to be the Irian Defense Forces and the associated defenders who are taken to task and beaten up by every faction you can imagine.

This is not a bad thing.  In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, I feel that these PDF exclusives are filling the void of the old scenario packs.  The is a collection of missions you can pick and choose from.  Using the guidelines you can make these battles as big or small as your time allows.

The tracks feature a healthy mix of stand up fights, breakthrough, and some more interesting set pieces.  Objectives tend to favor the predictable old standbys (go kill the other guys).  However the combination of special rules do a good job to mix things up.

Along your trip through Irian you may encounter ‘Mech pit traps, Automated Drone Mechs, and Methane Mud Pits.

The Elastic Retreat features an interesting back and forth slug fest designed to use rolling maps in both directions as reinforcements inevitably turn the tide of the battle.

My favorite though has to be Fit to Fight which is a moon fight with programmable Industrial ‘Mechs!  Lots of fun just thinking about that one!  Pray for ECM!

There is plenty of bread and butter battles too which is fine in moderation.  Moral Melee makes use of standard objectives along with Clan Honor in this curious battle between opposing Clan Invaders.

A few Dropships and even the Bounty Hunter are sprinkled through the other tracks.  I enjoyed the track selections and while many seemed to favor predictable objectives, the numerous Special Rules more than did their job shaking up the experience.

Record Sheets

We are provided five record sheets where each fills a unique role in one or more scenarios.

First up is a militarized RV.  A sporty little wheeled ICE vehicle featuring two King David Gauss rifles to pepper and harass your enemies.

An industrial Mech, Inquisitor II, and a badass Marauder II are the only ‘Mechs.  The Inquisitor looks benign at first.  It is a rather sub-par medium ‘Mech until you notice the TSEMP Cannon.  This changes the algebra and will force your opponent to consider the damage potential.  The Marauder II is a pound for pound slugger.  A primarily long range load-out and armor to last will make this a beast to contend with.  Its only weakness is perhaps the lack of crit seeking and the chance for some heat spikes once you close range.

The last two record sheets feature a scenario required land train.  It’s a train!  Nuff said.

Map

Of course no Turning Points PDF would be complete without the gorgeous planetary assault map.  Interstellar Operations cannot come soon enough!

Final Thoughts

Irian is a mashup at heart.  There are so many contenders it can be hard to keep track.  Speaking of Tracks, Irian makes good use of unique and interesting Special Rules to spice up the game.  Combined with an above average Combatants section and all the other value you expect from the Turning Point series and you have a great product and a worthy addition to the Turning Points line.

The Dark Age era may be a non-starter depending on your mood.  After all there is plenty of material covering earlier and more familiar conflicts.  Those interested and willing to try a taste of the newest and most recent story arc are sure to find great things on Irian.

Posted under Review
Mar-31-2015

Iron Wind Metal Turret

Turret-16

I picked up this miniature ages ago at a convention.  At the time IWM was selling these turrets and bases in a pick and choose format.  You picked a base and a turret you wanted for just a few bucks.  With plenty of weapons to choose from it was too tempting to pass up.  I went with a LRM variant although there were options for lasers or autocannons.  Sadly I cannot find anything in the IWM store that I could point you to if you wanted to buy one yourself.  This may have been a one time thing for conventions.

UPDATE:

A helpful reader has picked out the turrets on the IWN store!  Mix and match to your hearts content!

The base coat for this miniature started with Slaanesh Grey (two coats) and Plague Brown on the details on the launcher face.

Turret-05Turret-04Turret-03

Turret-02Turret-01

A quick wash of future floor finish and black ink worked wonders to shade the mini.

Turret-08Turret-07Turret-06

Highlighting was done with dry brushing on Stonewall Grey and then coming back with a few choice lines with the detail brush.  The yellow was brought up with successive coats of Plague Brown and Moon Yellow.  Some final details were added with black followed up with Gunmetal Grey to bring our fins or grids where I found them.  Very simple stuff here.  Its only a turret after all!

Turret-10Turret-11Turret-12Turret-09

All together a nice and quick paint job and something to add to a raid or defensive objective game.

Turret-15Turret-14Turret-13

Turret-19Turret-17Turret-16

Posted under Minis
Mar-23-2015

Remote Airfield

Heavy Metal Map is a great program.  It’s oodles of fun and can occupy my time for hours.

remote_airfield_preview

On a lark I decided to warm up the old program to make a new map.  The Remote Airfield map is designed to represent a small isolated airport for small craft (not a dropship port).  While mostly flat there are a few key features to break up movement and line of sight.  Light woods and some small water features are scattered about to keep things interesting.

As always I have three different formats available.  Pick what you need and happy gaming!

ScrapYardArmory – Remote Airfield

Printable PDF (0.65MB)

Low Resolution JPEG (3.04MB)

High Resolution JPEG (10.6MB)

Action Shots

Remote_Airfield_2Remote_Airfield_1Remote_Airfield_9Remote_Airfield_8

Remote_Airfield_7Remote_Airfield_6Remote_Airfield_5

Remote_Airfield_4Remote_Airfield_3

Posted under Terrain
Mar-19-2015

Historical Turning Point Tortuga Review

Pride and PPCsTortuga-Cover

An action packed piece of fiction opens up our adventure on Tortuga.  After more than a few slower and more subdued opening fiction entries for recent Turning Points (but not in a bad way) it is refreshing to get back behind the cockpit glass and read about some action!  Very good opening fiction.  It would appear that Pirates and heavy vehicle combat are in our future.

The familiar Geoff Swift is at the helm of this PDF.  Lets see if Mr. Swift can impress with Pirates on his palette.

Tortuga Prime

First off is a one page section giving a rough history of the planet and its surrounding region.  It’s a brief history lesson of Tortuga’s slow but steady rise in prominence, including being noticed by the Word of Blake.  This PDF is dedicated to the Jihad era from here on out.

Tortuga seems to be a barren landscape with only two mapsheet tables to pick from.  You are either in an urban area or are stuck in desert flatland.

Optional terrain and weather rules come from Tactical Operations and include much of what you would expect after reading; sand, heavy industrial, low gravity, and more.

The accompanying full color map is a gorgeous view of the world and great for picking out key battles and providing ideas for battles off the radar.

Random Assignment Tables

Two factions are in the mix on Tortuga; The pirates and the Filtvelt Coalition.  ‘Mech tables are combined for them and provided for each weight class.

Vehicles however are broken up by faction with some crossover.  The Filtvelt Coalition seems to have a wider variety of vehicles to choose from.

It is always welcome to see vehicles in the mix and this Turning Point is chock full.  It will be interesting to see how the tracks make use of the vehicle heavy mix of forces.

History

An abbreviated one page summary of the battle of Tortuga Prime gives us the best look so far at what happened and why.  The story is quite interesting and details the Pirate defense of their capital planet from the invading mercenaries from the Filtvelt Coalition.

It is a good one filled with carnage, traps, and pitched battles.  I am looking forward to seeing how the tracks section tells the rest of the tale.

Commanders

This section gives a brief historical background on the two commanders in the battle.  Buck Tripp leads the mercenary force while William Derer defends Tortuga as a representative from the Word of Blake.

A small list of special abilities are given which is a short collection of A Time of War stats.  Only some of the abilities can be translated to tabletop battle conditions.  Die hard role players are left to fill in the blanks if they ever wanted to include them in a campaign.

Not much to write home about here.  We are given mostly story and a small collection of skill levels (Strategy + 3, Tactics +4, etc) to work with.

Combatants

A special note starts us off in the combatants section indicating that if players do not choose to use the included RAT tables then care should be taken to select units that have been produced for some time.  Pirates and Mercs don’t get shiny new toys apparently.  Not on Tortuga that is.  An excellent addition to the flavor of the game for those players willing to go the extra mile to make it happen.

There are only a few commands in play on Tortuga.  Much less than some other engagements we have seen in the past.  Each force is fleshed out including the commanding officers name, unit experience, recommended RAT tables, unit abilities and notes.

The unit abilities mostly have something to do with initiative.  A few Tac Ops special abilities are thrown in for good measure like Banking Initiative.  A few restrictions on unit composition round out this unit abilities.  Not a lot of interesting material with one exception.  The Tortugan Phalanx are a force of light to medium ‘Mechs loaded with as much TSM as possible.  They can carry loot in their hands above the normal limit and can do so without the normal movement modifier.  I can just imagine a rag tag bunch of pirate ‘Mechs hard marching to their dropships carrying cargo nets full of looted ‘Mech parts, supplies, and whatever.  As the only really unique force in the bunch I am hoping that their special ability comes into play during the tracks!

Something new I picked up on was the inclusion of paint scheme details for some of the forces mentioned.  An interesting touchfor these lesser known forces who may not have an entry in CamoSpecs.com (yet…).

TracksTrack: Pursuit of Vengeance

Right off the bat we are greeted with a smash and grab pirate raid in Breaking the Wheel.  Earlier I was hoping the Tortugan Phalanx would find a use for their pirate looting ability and here it is.  We see lots more of this theme later on.  As a prelude of sorts, this track comes before the main series of connected tracks.

One interesting nuance is the use of fixed unit counts.  Normally Turning Points PDFs shy away from dictating actual force size but rather rely on ratios (defender is twice the size of the attacker sort of stuff…).  I get a feel that these tracks are designed closer to the original Scenario books of old.  We have a series of set pieces rather than the more open ended framework of the Chaos Campaign while avoiding being so restrictive as to giving a set ToE.

The second and third tracks are our first linked up tracks.  In fact, these two tracks are designed to be fought at the same time.  Each force gets a fixed number of units to divide among the two battles.  Both tracks involve the raid mechanics introduced in the first track and look to be fast and brutal affairs.  Players are left with some interesting choices.  Do you split evenly and hope for the best?  Or do you sand bag one battle with the hopes of holding on with whats left on the second?  Decisions decisions…

Moving on we are treated to a nice variety of tracks.  Breakthroughs, kill em all battles, objective raids, and ambush are all there!  There are technician hostages, chemical weapon suicide vehicles, factories, ammo dumps, and jammers (oh my!).  For most tracks I thought that the selection of optional bonuses were weak, but I just didn’t care.  The character and story crammed into these tracks through the primary objectives are fantastic and will offer more than enough strategy than you can deal with.  Tortuga brings a great story and a great series of connected battles that will keep you on your feet and begging for more.

Combined arms including infantry are everywhere.  Several tracks have one force fielding vehicles only.  Infantry is used in conjunction with either defense setups or specific special rules and objectives that make their inclusion anything but token.

Throughout the series of battles you will be reusing surviving and damaged units from previous tracks over and over.  Each scenario links with previous battles in some way culminating in a final battle for the fate of the planet with anything and everything left standing.

The last battle I have some qualms over balance.  After 8 other tracks of beating each other up I am not convinced that it is obvious which survivors are able to be used and the resulting balance of the fight, but given the robust content up until this point I don’t think I am bothered too much with it.  At the end of the day BattleTech is one giant pick your own adventure book anyways so adding a few forces to one side to even things out and make it interesting would not be the worst thing in the world so long as all players are game.

These are some of the best tracks I’ve had the privilege to read in some time!

Technical Readout

I hope you like Brigands.  We are treated to a full TRO entry for the ‘Mech including record sheets for six different variants.  Lots of medium lasers in almost all configurations.  For a 25 ton ‘Mech some players may find the speed profile limiting at 6/9/6 and even 5/8 in one variant.  A bit light on the armor makes me think that this ‘Mech would like to avoid a pitched battle, especially against  PPCs and AC10s.

Rounding out this section is the custom Awesome piloted by the attacking commander Buck Tripp.  It is a scary looking fast variant moving at an impressive 5/8.  A perfect amount of heatsinks will keep this Mech running cool even when alpha striking every turn.  It includes the latest internal technology to make weight, including XL engine, XL gyro, and Ferro Fibrous armor.

This section provides more than usual.  Very nice to see the additional TRO material to make the campaign feel right!

Map

Of course no Turning Points PDF is complete without the multi-page planetary assault map.  I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Interstellar Operations to put these to good use.

Final Thoughts

Tortuga pulls out the stops with a wild ride on this pirate heavy campaign.  From the combined arms to the linked tracks there is a lot going on to keep you interested.  Any time I was able to find a potential fault with one section or another I found more than enough to make up for it in the tracks.

Tortuga joins the ranks of the best in the Turning points series.  My mind is already racing thinking of how I can run this campaign for myself.  I may be hitting up Iron Wind Metals for some Brigands soon!

Posted under Review