The mood was tense. The grenadiers and riflemen were trading rumours amongst themselves – an unstoppable horde of Virum Nascii, hundreds strong, which had overrun the outlying colony of Hadley’s Hope in the northern disputed territories, slaughtering the Sky Marines sent to interdict them.
Amongst the crew of the steam tank “McDaggett’s Fury“, however, such sentiments were notable for their absence.
“Sky Marines” scoffed commander Boddicker, “probably tried to buy them off.”
He patted the gunsights on the Fury’s main cannon. “Firepower! And lots of it! That’s all those beasts can be expected to understand. Franz? Louis? Are your rifles zeroed?”
The two foregunners saluted in eerie synchronicity. “Sir! Yes, sir – optimised to peak accuracy, ammo feeds and repeater mechanisms cleared and double checked”
“Good work” Boddicker nodded approvingly “Signal Colonel Murphy that the Fury stands ready”
Atop his horse, surveying his assembled forces, Witch-Colonel Alecius Murphy had already sensed the build up of adrenaline and arrogance within the steam tank- it’s very presence evidence of how seriously the Ancien Regime province command took the Virum Nascii threat. Sky Marines didn’t die easily – he knew that all too well. Underestimating his foe was not a mistake Murphy intended to make again.
He surveyed his assembled forces – lines of riflemen in their dark blue coats and peaked caps, columns of grenadiers imposing with their shakos and bayonets, a regiment of the illustrious cuirassier cavalry, the line anchored by the imposing iron beast that was the McDaggett’s Fury.
The Virum Nascii had plagued this province in recent months, and the slaughter of a Sky Marine force at the nearby colony of Hadley’s Hope had proven that these beasts were present in force, and not to be underestimated. Murphy cast his precognitive vision forth and in his minds eye sensed the presence of a huge horde of the ratmen, heading his way.
“We make our stand here” he announced, “prepare firing positions and make ready to receive the enemy”
He gritted his teeth. It would be enough. It had to be enough.
Welcome back to another Hyperian Wars battle report – and this one should be a doozy…
Well, that was a blast and right up to turn 4 it could have gone either way – Colonel Murohy may have failed to successfully cast a single spell but his presence definitely helped the riflemen in the centre beat off the ratmen assault. I think the main issue the Virum Nascii had was failure to concentrate force in one area – had they focused on one single area of the human lines they could have overwhelmed them and rolled up the line piecemeal, but poor coordination let their regiments get picked off one at a time, and when Ratticus went down their naturally poor morale really started to count against them…
Still, the story isn’t over, we’ve got more Hyperian Wars coming as the escalation continues – more troops, characters and war machines for the Virum Nascii, and the same for the human factions! Stay tuned, stay thrifty, we’ll see you soon
Dan and I have been busily working our way through the four – FOUR – boxes of Miniknight Ratmen we wound up buying last year, and don’t y’all be fretting as there’s a big update coming on them. But in the meantime, we’re planning a sequel to the last Hyperian Wars battle report – after a taut pitched battle against the Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance, the Virum Nascii are going up against the massed armies of the Ancien Regime.. and with Dan in the hot seat for the little furry guys, I found myself flying the flag for humanity…
Enter the first ever papercraft either of us made, way back in 2015….
Yeah, not great. But the Ancien Regime are going to need every bit of firepower they can get on Friday, because those rats are lethal. So a few nights ago I decided to attempt an upgrade:
Then came the repaint – grey basecoat, washed with thinned black ink, pin wash pf smokey ink , red and yellow for the detailing, silver washed with blank ink for the metallics. Spot of sponge chipping with craft black paint and drybrushed earth tones for mud, banners drawn out, painted freehand and then wrapped around a paperclip rolled straight (ish) with a rolling pin. And the result…
Oh yeah, and brass painted with craft paint and washed with brown ink, tracks added with cut up IDE cables. Pictured here in situ with some Ancien Regime troops on patrol!
Some of you may be familiar with Dakkadakka.com, one of the biggest hubs for wargaming (mainly GW, but by no means exclusively), as well as painting and modelling. Jim and I are regular visitors, and over the years have come upon many PLOGs to loot for ideas and inspiration (see here, for example).
And lo, it was on a recent trawl for ideas to pinch that we came upon the elite secret society (well, sort of) of Dakka terrain builders, the League Of Extraordinary Riveters – so named for being the detail obsessed, practically OCD modellers who will go to the extent of modelling every rivet onto their pieces.
Frankly, this rather appealed! And so when this month’s terrain competition was announced, with “food” as it’s theme, we thought, let’s have a go.
Now, every year I get a Cadbury’s Creme Egg easter egg. And every year it’s awesome, even though it does nudge me a step closer to type 2 diabetes. But every year, after I’ve gorged myself on sugar and then gone through the inevitable grinding comedown, I look at the packaging and think, “That could be…. SOMETHING”
Well, this year? It’s going to be SOMETHING.
So no idea how we’ve placed in the end, but it’s been a good fun ride!
So until next time, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon!
Well damn. The dice are just cooling down after an absolutely blistering playtest of our steampunk/ fantasy/ VSF mashup system, “Hyperian Wars” – today featuring the Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance versus the villainous Virum Nascii. And DAMN, the result was really not what we expected, but it was an absolutely corking game! So, with memories still relatively fresh and unclouded by liquor, time to dive into this evening’s battle report –
Grand Alliance Sky Marines (all troops are skirmishers):
5 x Poison Grenadiers (skirmishers) – Poison Grenades, Hand Weapons
10 x Stormtroopers – Hand Weapons
8 x Plague Priests – Hand Weapons
So, one side has the firepower – but the other has numbers. And speed. Who would prevail?
Virum Nascii were just about to hit Sky Marine positions, and things were about to get… interesting…
But in the end.. it was game over, man. Game over.
Wow. Holy sh*t but that was a blast – the Sky Marines deploying, full of confidence in our ranged firepower, taking down huge numbers of Virum Nascii….. right up until the rats got into charge range and then it hit the fan and no mistake! My outnumbered squads were ripped apart in short order, and damn but the Ratmen are FAST!!
In fact, the battle played out much like a steampunk/ fantasy version of the classic movie “Aliens” – the Sky Marines inflicting huge losses on the ratmen for no loss to themselves… right up until the moment when they weren’t.. and then it became a massacre! Hence the title – fans will recognise Hadley’s Hope as the colony established on LV426.
All in all, a hell of a game, right down to PFC Hudson’s last stand in the temple! And we should add, this got the attention of none other than Black Library author himself, Gav Thorpe!
By this point both sides had secured two objectives, but losses on the human side were mounting up more rapidly than the more numerous Ratmen – could superior human firepower prevail?
As we ended Turn 3, It was 4-1 to the Ratmen in terms of objectives secured as superior numbers were beginning to tell..
Turn 4 (Final Turn)
Heavy losses all round but the vastly superior numbers of Ratmen were better placed to soak them up, and I think I really needed to focus absolutely everything on annihilating one unit at a time – rather than getting my riflemen duelling with the archers and the cavalry mixing it up with Poison Grenadiers, we should have plowed everything into hammering the central Ratmen units the infantry were facing… still, plenty of time for another game!
Once again, a really fun game from the One Page Rules folks and a great “introductory” wargame – you can play this one with the nippers (and I intend to once my youngling stops regarding dice as tasty snack treats) as well as your mates and having everything immediately accessible is a big help keeping the game flowing. I could say it’s almost too simplistic, but… the guy’s stated intent was to produce a game that could fit onto one page! It’s a cracking fun game and a great framework to houserule extra bits and pieces on if you want more depth, and there’s plenty that we’ve learned about game design and economical rules writing that will be making it’s way into our next series of releases (probably next year sometime, don’t hold your breath!).
Meanwhile we’ve got some scenery to paint for the League Of Extraordinary Riveters on Dakkadakka.com, and something pretty cool (and big.. and VERY red) on the horizon to show off… stay thrifty out there, we’ll be back soon!
Anyhoo, recently he’s been putting up some battle reports using the system formerly known as 1page40k – Grimdark Future. This is billed as a fast playing, easy to use, quick and dirty version of the 40k we all know and sort-of-love, sort-of-loathe. Rules and army lists are free to download from the One Page Rules website here. And seeing as we are drawn to free stuff like a moth to the flame of a slow burning crack pipe, we were all over this.
We set up terrain with a ruined village to the east and a disused plasma generator station to the west, set objectives (one of the generators, central hill, ruined church and a ruined shop)…and GAME ON!
Human Defence Force won the roll off and force the Orcs to deploy first:
And battle was joined!
End result, 2 objectives to the HDF (plasma generator and central hill) one to the Orc Marauders (ruined church, held by the transport)
Casualties – HDF lost a weapons team and some of the infantry squad, plus wounded Captain… the Orcs were pretty much down to the transport and their Power Armour elites, and even they were pretty beaten up.
So a pretty decisive victory!
Thoughts on the game? A LOT of fun. Grimdark Future is simple, fast playing and intuitive, absolutely brilliant for a quick throw down kickabout. We did wonder about the balance of point values given the pounding the Orcs took, but Jim did point out the he might just’ve sucked at playing the game.
So, a new system, and props to OPR designer Gaetano Ferrara for the effort he’s put into creating a fun and fast game that really benefits from not being supported by a major model company (more thoughts on that another day). We had a blast and next up on the list is OPR’s “Age Of Fantasy- Regiments” – we’ll let you know!
(Side note – free rules and army lists, 1/72 miniatures, scratchbuilt terrian and vehicles… could this be the cheapest wargame ever played?)
With the Soviet offensive of summer 1956 successful in capturing a number of Allied plasma generation facilities, UNIVAC, Majestic 12 and Supreme Allied Command Europe were all agreed to focus their immediate strategy on recapturing these vital installations before Emperor Djugashvilli could build on the momentum the Holy Soviet Army had managed to create (at great cost).
It therefore came as something of a surprise when Stalin’s next move did not come across the front lines in Europe, but a massed amphibious assault on northern Scotland coming from an armada of massive transport submarines. In one of the opening moves, Lt Polikarpov would lead the infantry component of the assault task force assigned to knock out the plasma generator station powering Faslane naval base.
The Scottish campaign was notable for the complete and total inebriation of both sides – commissars would ladle out vodka liberally to the assault troops while the Scottish defended their homeland fuelled on a mix of Iron Bru and McEwan’s. Fighting was close and brutal, fuelled by borscht on the one side and deep fried Mars bars on the other. In the end, however, there could be only one victor.
Welcome to another Apocalypse: Earth megagame! We’ve been planning this for a while to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and figured doing our own weird war retro sci-fi take on things would be our little (if slightly strange) contribution to commemorating the immense bravery shown that day.
So, without further ado, on to the battle report!
The Soviet force would be landing on the beach from the gigantic transport submarines they had created in secret and infiltrated up to the Scottish coast (which meant no need to scratch build landing craft), and would be landing with the intent to capture the (suspiciously familiar looking) plasma generator station that powered Faslane Naval Base – knocking that out would take down the base forcefields, allowing the next stage of the Soviet invasion.
Task Force Polikarpov, therefore brought EVERYTHING to the battle, including some new recruits to bolster the rifle squads to a full 14 men each. We were also trying something new – grouping the Soviet tanks into platoons, each consisting of two regular gun T-48s and either the Inferna or Elektra assault variant. This meant less flexibility (alternating unit activations favours multiple small units, a fact that the Atlantic Alliance is built around) but also the ability to bring down a LOT of firepower in one go. In short, playing like the slow moving iron clad firestorm the Holy Soviet Army should be!
“Contact – no, wait, multiple contacts!” called out the sonarman monitoring the sonobuoy pickets out in the bay. “Bearing 060 through 065, closing up on the beaches fast.. where the HELL did they come from?”
“One of their damned sorcerers” snarled Lt. Grant. He quickly swallowed the last bite of his bacon sandwich and thumbed the ARPANET transceiver on to the platoon network.
“Buffalo 2-7, this is Sunray. All units stand to. I say again, stand to. Prepare for amphibious assault.”
Around him the troops were already scrambling. Men checked weapons, drivers gunned engines. Grant thumbed the channel.
“Kampfgruppe Hulkenberg, this is Buffalo 2-7 Sunray, we have multiple- “
“We have them too, Lieutenant”. The clipped, precise tones of his European League counterpart cut through the static. “All units moving to prepared positions as rehearsed.”
Grant smiled grimly. “See you on the beach, Nico.”
“It’s a date. Von Hulkenberg out.”
The game opened with a salvo of 152mm shells from supporting Soviet naval firepower, smashing an Allied jeep and causing damage to the Kugelpanzer squadron, but no sooner had the ground stopped shaking from the explosions than appeared the gigantic, terrifying form of the Soviet Colossus – Stompy Uncle Joe leading his children to war!
As the second turn ended, the Soviets were ashore with heavy losses – but at the cost of gutting the Allied formations!
By this time both sides were on the ropes and tottering, but the Soviets had managed to push the Allied forces off the beach, with catastrophic casualties on each side!
The pain flared across his temple. Lt. Grant struggled to consciousness to find himself looking into the darkness of a Kalashnikov assault rifle barrel. As he struggled to clear his vision, a second figure in a peaked cap wielding a pistol swam into view.
“Lt. Grant, I presume”, said a Russian voice, “I have been waiting a long time for this..”
So, a Soviet victory! At great cost – HQ, a couple of riflemen, the Mystic and his bodyguard, a Tesla trooper and sniper were literally all that were left. On the Allied side, however, we were down to a German medic armed with a pistol. So, now what for our story? Lt. Grant trying to effect a breakout from a Soviet POW camp? Some more fluff and battle reports on the Scottish Front? Let us know!
On a more serious note, no one reading this will have been unaware of the 75th anniversary of D-Day a few days ago, and certainly that was in our thoughts as we finished this quite epic game.
Dan – “That was a laugh and everything, but f**k me, can you imagine having to do it for real?”
No. No I can’t. We both agreed that neither of us could have done it. But mercifully, we haven’t had to.
So thank you Grandpa. Thank you Grandad. Thank you to all of you who summoned up the courage to do the impossible – not just on D-Day, but the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, for eleven more months.
Stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you again soon.
Don’t know what it is about summer, but I always find myself drawn to fantasy stuff – suppose it’s because the evenings are lighter, the shed is warmer… and I’m drawn to a simpler time of Goblin Green bases drawn in massed ranks, swords and spears raised to beat the absolute crap out of each other.
It was about this time last year when I began my love affair with the 1/72 Skaven – ahem, Ratmen, or Virum Nascii for Hyperian Wars – from Caesar or Minikight miniatures (as the packaging is somewhat ambiguous), and I painted up the first of the four boxes I’d bought quite happily. After kicking a little Freeguild and Ancien Regime ass over the summer 2018, these were duly forgotten about as new shiny things grabbed our attention…
But even gamer ADHD runs its course, and it wasn’t long before I remembered my plans for cheapy fantasy hordes, and set about adding a second tranche to the litte whiskery fellas:
So yeah, fill in post today – but you’re going to love what’s coming next… 😉 Stay thrifty out there my brothers and sisters, we will see you soon!
You know what? I think this might be the most ambitious build we’ve ever tried. Grab a beer, this is going to be a big one.
Back at the start of the year, I mentioned to Dan that June 6 2019 would be the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and we figured it would be nice to do something to commemorate it beyond getting hammered and watching Saving Private Ryan, especially as we both had grandads who had served on the day itself (mine drove a DUKW in the early follow up waves, Dan’s served on a Royal Navy destroyer). As such, we both took a little inspiration from Mel The Terrain Tutor’s amazing D-Day beach landing board and decided to attempt something similar ourselves.
I mean, it’s not like Mel’s (as he explained himself in his vlog series) went way over time or budget or anything.. and he’s a pro with years of experience, proper materials, a budget, talent…. what could possibly go wrong?
STAGE 1 – PLANNING.
Now, this concept in itself is fairly novel, as up until a couple of years ago we just tended to glue junk together, hope for the best, and then lose ourselves in vicious envy of other people’s work, but this time we knew we had to have some sort of plan.
There’s no way we could do a devoted 6×4 board – don’t have the time, don’t have the talent, don’t have anywhere to store it even if we did – so we decide on a 2×4 overlay that could sit on top of the regular board. Happily, I just happened to have a pair of 2’x2′ bits of hardboard in the shed. Game on.
We roughed out a basic design – a small concave beach with rock formations either side, that would match up and be modular so we could play different scenarios – and got cracking.
STAGE 2 – BASIC MATERIALS
Water effects added courtesy of pound shop epoxy resin thinned with acetone nail polish remover, mixed in a few drops of green and brown ink as well, and then applied with a lolly stick. We nicked this idea from Lukes APS – all hail the Squire Of The North!
Final touches were a good healthy dousing in watered down PVA sealant, followed by a coat of matt varnish. Warping was counteracted by applying PVA on the underside of the board, and – DONE!
We finish with the now obligatory Skinflint Games terrain naming ceremony – ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses and raise a toast to (named after our main influence) Mel Bay!
So let’s wrap this up with a few White Dwarf- style beauty shots:
So if you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with us and I hope you can forgive us for being a bit quiet on the blog front this month! Steal every idea here – we did – stay thrifty and we’ll see you again soon….
Right, I’m writing this because Dan a) can’t be bothered and b) is clearly a ludicrously talented terrain builder.
Anyway, a bit of background – back in 2016, we came across an eye opening article on DakkaDakka.com by the magnificently talented 3T studios, detailing how to make “Dynamic, Craggy Hills“. We both were struck by the incredibly cinematic beauty of their work and resolved that our stuff would look like that.. one day.. so I sawed off a hardboard rectangle to serve as base, piled paper mache, and chunks of packing polystyrene on board, along with some pebbles and twigs, coated the lot with PVA and and before painting up and flocking. The result was… ok, I suppose, but it was only a few months later when I realised what was bugging me about it – the base.
Nature doesn’t do straight lines.
So Dan scooped up my baby, took it over to his shed with promises of a more organic shaped MDF base, and a few days later produced this:
So there we are, proof positive that Dan is a frankly phenomenal terrain builder and kept that pretty bloody quiet! I’m intrigued to see what he comes up with next…
And if you’re wondering why the name – Robert Kubica, one of our motorsport heroes. His return to F1 might not have been the most successful so far, but we’re rooting for you (and Williams) – and if you want an inspirational story, his is up there… tagged as an F1 star of the future, loses most of an arm in horrific crash, 8 years later makes it back to the top of racing.. tiene cojones, Bobby K. So this terrain piece is for you!
Till next time, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon 😉