Monday, August 18, 2014

Making LOTR Objective Markers

The other day we had LOTR SBG battle where we had to grab objectives on the battlefield. While setting up, I realized I was woefully short of good themed Objective Markers. After digging through my bits boxes I came across these LOTR Trivial Pursuit game pieces. Just what I needed.

 The best of the lot is Galadriel. She was most statue like and more likely to have a statue than say Frodo. I picked up the game at a garage sale for a $1. I removed the metal figure from the plastice base and went to work building a statue base for her

Gale Force 9 MDF Base, 50 or 60mm, I scored the MDF with a razor blade then widened the score with a file.

2nd Gale Force 9 MDF base. I think 40mm.

I didn't have any thick dowels so I went to the garage and cut the end off a broom I didn't use much.

Checking the look and fit before gluing.

3 layers of grey dry brush.

Hmmm, the camera really washes out the color. I need to work on my lighting.

Slight side angle

Some Dwarves I picked up off eBay, added for scale.

Here's another one that my friend Lou did.

That should get us off to a good start. We could use a couple more. So more digging. The only problem with that is finding "new" shiney things that I forgot about, that I want to paint and play with that pushes other stuff off my table and into the boxes. It's an endless cycle of shiney!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Battle of Stones River, Historicon 2014

On December 31st 1862, Union General William S. Rosecrans had planned a early morning attack on the Confederate right flank outside Murfreesboro TN. He had already started moving his troops across Stones River when the Condederates slammed into the sleeping Union right flank. Confederate General Braxton Bragg launched his assault first, and caught the Union fight flank still in camp. The Union was caught by surprise and driven back.

After a very busy 2 week build we finished our Stones River Battlefield. I didn't have time to take pics of the board before the game, but I did get some shots of the game at the convention.

All the hard work paid off. The board was great looking and we won a PELA award for game. It was a team effort, Alan, Lou, Bob and I all helped in the building and running the game in one way or another. Most of my pictures are before the battle, once the battle starts you forget to take pics.

Here are the pics:

Before the battle Confederate left flank attack

Before the battle, Confederate left flank attack, Confederate Gen. Hardee ready to attack

Before the battle, looking along the Union right flank. McCook's Corp is about to get a wake up call...charge

Before the battle, Confederate right flank, Union troops under Gen. Crittenden in position to strike

Center of the battlefield did not see a lot of action during the battle. Neither side wanted to charge the other.

Looking arcoss the whole board

Crittenden ready to attack

Crittenden ready to attack Breckenridge

Breckenridge on his own on the east side of Stones River

Center of the line.

Hardee slams into McCook's boys. The problem was McCook's boys didn't get the memo that they were supposed to be asleep.

The Confederates should have swept away the leading brigades, but the Union dice were hot and the Confederate dice were cold.

Union Division Gen. Van Cleve, only has 2 brigades across Stones River and the rest of the troops are marching away!

Breckenridge's Corp could have hammered these 2 isolated brigades but he was worried about guarding the ford at the bottom of the hill

In the Center, the Rebels had Breastworks, The Yankee's had Artillery. Neither side wanted to give up their advantage and attack.

At this point it was late, and people had to take off. It was a shame, for this section of the battlefield was about to heat up. So a brief recap, the Confederate surprise attack was beaten back like a drum. They had numbers, they had position, they had surprise bonuses, but they didn't have luck! On the other side of the table, both sides were very cautious and so never really got into other than exchanging long range fire. I think the players had a good time, always hard to tell. I hope they did as we poured a ton of effort and some good amount cash into that game.

Lessons learned,
It was a great time building this board and running the game but we could have done it better on both accounts. We needed another week for the build. The river looked great, but could have been better with 2 more pours of the Realistic Water. You have have to pour no more than 1/8 inch at a time and allow to dry. We didn't have time to get more depth in the water.

Also we need to do a better job on the seams of the boards around the rivers. Digging into the foam on the grooved foam board opened big holes that were difficult to fill when I went to pour the water.

As for the battle we made one big mistake, and it's a mistake we've seen over and over in other games, but forgot about in this battle. Two of us play tested the battle twice on another board while we built this one. The battle went smooth, however it was just the TWO of us. We forgot to take into consideration that if you go by historical timelines, huge chunks of both armies sit there and do nothing till they are activated. For the 2 of us play testing, we had no waiting around for our commands to activate.

We spent so much time worrying about building the board that we forgot about game play. So for the first hour of the game about half of the players did nothing. We realized the problem and in the 2nd hour we activated all commands regardless of the historical timeline. The players are here to push lead and roll dice, not wait 4 hours till their command activates, Historical or not, that does not make a good convention game.

The last lesson, I think,(still some debate amonst us) is that you need to simplify rules for conventions. The homegrown rules we use are not complicated, but they ain't Checkers either. They have some fiddlely bits and a number of charts. Next time we will look to streamline the rules for convention play.

That's it, thanks for checking out my blog and I hope you enjoyed the build and finished project posts.
Now to start planning our Fall In event. Apparently common sense and restraint does not go well with this hobby. We are planning a huge build.

Cheers, Xin