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!
Drumroll please… yes, in a mere three years from initial concept to final completion! Oh yes – we get it DONE.
So, the concept for this (and indeed our entire “Cheaphammer” project) was to see if we could create the same sort of visual spectacle and entertainment of a full blown 40k game without taking out the second mortgage needed to do it with GW products. Again, this is not an anti-GW rant – if they were too expensive, they’d go bust. They’re just too expensive for us.
So what we’re doing here is using the (by comparison) ludicrously cheap 1/72 scale – plastic army guys, basically, along with scratchbuilt and converted vehicles from papercraft templates and household junk. Those of you of a certain age will remember the very first “Rogue Trader” edition of Warhammer 40,000 and it’s instruction on how to build a Space Marine Grav Attack tank from deodorant bottles and plastic spoons – that’s the legacy we’re continuing!
Mek Mikael Schumorker – Flak Armour, Bolt Pistol, Kustom Blasta, Kustom Force Field – (68 pts)
Painboy Dok Nikky Louda – Flak Armour, Bolt Pistol, Lascannon, Kustom Force Field, Doc’s Tools (76 pts)
Killa Kan – 2x Power Klaw, Heavy Flamer, Heavy Bolter (120 pts)
Battle Wagon (50 pts)
Warbuggy Red 5 – twin linked Autocannon (60 pts)
Warbuggy Red 7 – Multi Melta (65 pts)
So there we go – been a fun project, despite a few setbacks, and now they’re ready to roll I’m pretty proud of them. The infantry are Caesar Miniatures Fantasy Orcs, which are great little miniatures, well made and a joy to paint. They do a number of fantasy lines which we’ll definitely be investigating for our “Hyperian Wars” games. Weapons are from Sgts Mess, any other conversions/ butchery are down to greenstuff.
We’ve also learned alot about painting figures this small – namely, prime white and wash down rather than highlight up, as thinner washes don’t cover up detail. If anyone’s interested in how we did the boyz, let us know in the comments.
Now, we have the armies, we have the board, wehavetheterrain.. now all we need to do is (ahem) learn how to play the game…. See you soon with a battle report!
It’s the half term break here in Ye Olde England, so our little group has been able to cram in a little more game time than usual (yep, the teaching profession has its upsides..).. Our regular readers may have noticed that we’ve gone for a bit of a fantasy vibe recently, turning the Apocalypse: Earth game mechanic to new pastures.
The world of Hyperia, mankind’s new home across the stars.. colonised by refugees from a dying Earth more than twenty centuries previously, mankind has learned to abandon the crude technology of its past, embracing Vril and Magick.. mankind has learned to coexist with the native Stoc’d and Ee’la races, and help them face the Terrors that inhabit the world’s core. But as is the way of mankind, we cannot remain united for long.. now across Hyperia, different realms do battle for the precious resource of Vril.
To the West, the Grand Alliance commands a network of skyways and oceanic shipping lanes across its network of islands. Mighty skyships ply their trade amidst the islands, archipelagos and vast floating cities of a thriving economy with new inventions pushing technological barriers every day. Their elite Sky Marine Corps are the envy of every power on Hyperia. But the Alliance is built on the vital resources of liftwood and Vril, and both of these are becoming rarer by the day.
On the central continent, the realm of the Ancient Regime holds sway – their ruling families tracing their roots back to the original colonists who crashed to Hyperia on the fateful day that brought our race here. Their numbers are vast and they have a firm mastery the arts of wizardry – a Grand Army of the Ancient Regime is a fearful sight to behold, their vast columns of swordsmen, cavalry, riflemen, armour and their elite wizardy cadre represent a powerful force, but their empire is stagnating. Rituals, feudalism and a distrust of technological research has stifled new thinking and innovation.
So, our first playtest battle used the Ancien Regime and Grand Alliance armies detailed last month – no points values at this stage, and the objective was control of the central rocky gulch. Great fun was had, and I’m stunned how closely matched the forces were considering list balance was largely guesswork!
Both sides faced off with objective in central gully – superheavies (the Ironclad and the Dauntless) deployed to use cover, with the Grand Alliance planning to whittle down and counterattack their far more numerous opponents, while the Ancien Regime forces detailed their two Grenadier squadrons to take objective, while the massed musketeer regiment would cover the more open left flank pinning down any opposition, whilst finally the Cuirassier cavalry and A7V light tank would sweep around right and crash into Allied lines.
The game started with largely ineffective firing on both sides as the forces closed, jockeying for position – Allied forces shot down a few infantry while Ancien Regime grenadiers and armour stripped powerfields off the Dauntless – then Ancien sorcerer conjured a lightning storm to cripple the skycutter’s control systems. Nonetheless, the Dauntless’ missiles blew weapons off the A7V, which the enterprising driver then used as cover to support scything cavalry attack into Allied lines that wiped out No. 3 squad. Sky Marine rifle fire from no. 2 quickly shot down the Cuirassiers and close assaulted the tank, losing five of their number but immobilising the beast and therefore rendering it harmless, while No. 1 squad exchanged fire with the musketeers and HQ fired into the ranks of Grenadiers
The Dauntless shook off lightning storm and recovered to hide and ambush Ironclad, washing it in Vrilfire and denuding it off its port side Maxims, eventually immobilising it and then destroying it completely at the cost of her missiles and a damaged engine. Meanwhile, rifle and mortar fire raked the Grenadiers, whose A squadron charged the Sky Marine command group and wiped them out. In their turn, these men were blown apart with grenades and B squadron fell to one survivor.
In an astonishing move, this heroic Grenadier charged the remainder of No.2 squad who promptly surrendered and became POWs! The shame! Meanwhile the Dauntless crew finally hunted down incinerated the sorcerer who had caused them such misery. As she closed on the Musketeers, No. 1 squad charged to rescue their pals, and the Musketeer colonel turned to see a listing, smoking Dauntless hovering over his men, cannon and Vrilfire thrower at point blank range. Realising there was nothing to be gained by sacrificing his men to a horrific agonising death, the colonel raised his hands in surrender, bade his men do the same and led the survivors into captivity..
Result – Grand Alliance victory, by a hair’s breadth!
Altogether, awesome game! A few pointers which we’ll take into the next playtest (more varied spells, pin down exactly how power fields regenerate etc) but overall a resounding success. Props to Dan for being an always challenging and sportsmanlike opponent, and stay tuned for more Hyperian Wars!
It’s been a busy month here at Skinflint HQ as we’ve been knocking together armies for Apocalypse: Earth‘s sister game, provisionally entitled Hyperian Wars…
In typical SG style, this came about as we were perusing a box of “miscellaneous” 1/72 soldiers bought off eBay and pondering what to do with the Napoleonic and WW1 troops. A few hours and a good many beers later the concept of a steampunk fantasy world driven by sorcery, featuring some analogues of human societies in real life and A: E, as well as your standard orc/ elf/ goblin fantasy types.. but with a bit of a twist. Hyperian society is dependant on Vril, the magickal life giving element that allows magic-tech to function, but the political situation is deteriorating rapidly as the world nears Peak Vril.. Dwarves ready their fortresses, Elves deploy Enchantments Of Mass Destruction and as the wards deployed at mining sites begin to fail the Terrors of the Dead begin to escape. The clock on mankind’s new home begins to tick perilously close to midnight..
Anyway, enough of the fluff – let’s look at some toy soldiers!
The first crop are the Grand Army of the Ancien Regime – an empire centred on the planets massive central continent. These are your basic sword, sorcery, musket ‘n’ cannon types, bolstered by rudimentary armour.
And now for the OPFOR – Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance, a loose coalition of islands and floating cities based in the oceans of the western hemisphere.
The ASV Dauntless! Essentially a Skycutter is a mix of floating tank and slow moving steampunk helicopter gunship, mounting missiles, cannon and fearsome Vrilfire thrower.. although ferocious, she can be fragile as her power fields are easily stripped away by concentrated rifle fire. Should be interesting to field her in the game.
Basically, she’s half a toilet roll tube, the dispenser nozzle from a box of wine, a LOT of cardboard, greenstuff and junk and a Royal Flying Corps influenced paintjob. Lots of fun to build, although I’m sure there’s room for improvement.
Grunts – Airfix WW1 Brits. These guys will be joined by “Artificials” – WW1 style robots providing fire support and force protection.
We’re looking forward to getting our first game in next month, should be fun!
Crikey, I blinked and I almost missed August! Well, we’ve been busy down here at Skinflint HQ, with a variety of different projects – so apologies, this might not be the most focused of posts, but there’ll be plenty of 1/72 weirdness to enjoy..
First up – terrain!
This is a tele-logistics hub for the Atlantic Alliance logistics corps – in the fluff, alien tech captured at Roswell in 1947 led to the Philadelphia Experiment a few years later, which failed in its original purpose but the side effects led to Alliance scientists mastering teleportation. However, seeing as the setting is the mid-1950s, we did’t want Star Trek-style transporters as that wouldn’t fit the story.. how could the world fall into an endless apocalyptic Second Great War if all Churchill or Eisenhower had to do was beam a bomb into the centre of the Kremlin?
So there are limits. A teleporter can’t transport live organic matter as the computers of the day don’t have the power to reassemble it, so it’s strictly limited to supplies. And you can’t just beam anything anywhere, there has to be a homing beacon set up – these beacons are known as hubs, and they are an essential part of the Allied war effort, far less vulnerable than conventional naval convoys.
So this little puppy is built from a variety of household junk – beginning with a CD spindle, and adding various bits of miscellania – the hoses you see are used guitar string cut offs -given a black undercoat, drybrushed with metallic paint and then details picked out and highlighted. It made a great objective in our last game!
Next up – Steampunk Fantasy WW1!
These are Airfix WW1 British infantry, to double as Grand Alliance Sky Marines for our steampunk/fantasy A:E adaptation, “Hyperian Wars”. They were part of an Ebay haul from a few years back.
Following the Roswell UFO crash of 1947, ARPA worked feverishly to engineer new technologies based on their discoveries.Not all their experiments would prove successful, however, and the 1949 Philadelphia Experiment – originally conceived as a means to “cloak” a ship – was a horrific failure. An offshoot of the program carried on developing the principles of teleportation that had been inadvertently discovered, and although a couple of early catastrophic failures in testing proved that organic living tissue could not use these machines, they were fine for inanimate objects and machines. At a stroke, the Atlantic Alliance’s logistics corps was revolutionised, and each theatre of the Apocalypse War is equipped with tele-logistics nodes such as this one in the town of Kessenburg, central Germany.
The original installation fell victim to an artillery and psychic bombardment from Holy Soviet Empire forces on a sector wide offensive, and Allied X Corps Command ordered a rescue detachment to the area to prevent the Soviets capturing the node and it’s advanced technology.
Victory conditions – to control the node, the player must have unsuppressed troops within 5cm of the outer edge and no unsuppressed enemy forces within the same distance.Your objective is to control the node for three uninterrupted turns allowing the auto evacuation mechanism time to lock on to the nearest homing signal and teleport to safety.
So, following the trip to Warhammer World last week, I was raring to go and get a game in, and on Sunday evening Dan rolled up with a crate of Carling in one hand and his Holy Soviet Army in the other – game on!
I had a few new toys to try out, so we cranked up the fire support allowance for Dan, and we both tried out the new Command Cards idea – basically, to make your CO and XO extra valuable, they can force extra actions, prioritise fire support, benefit morale etc. As it turned out, neither that or Fortunes Of War had any impact on things but it was a great game nonetheless!
Thankfully my command team had had their coffee so the Atlantic Alliance won for deployment:
The game started with both sides jostling for position and few shots being fired. My infantry deployed straight from their APCs onto the objective, securing it in Turn 1 – I noticed Dan hadn’t put his assault troops in the Soviet APC, as last two games, it’s been hit before it could be activated and his badass Siberian psychopaths have been barbecued..
Turn 2 was where it all hit the fan, the Soviet assault got its momentum and my right flank was a mass of blazing armour! However a lucky shot from a machinegunner had taken down the Soviet RTO which meant no fire support calls – lucky for me, as I was losing infantry hand over fist.. and I didn’t have many to begin with!
Unfortunately (depending on your point of view) they couldn’t quite carry the momentum – the Beastmen slaughtered Delta Squad but were blown to pieces by the heavy machineguns and cannon on the APCs.
So there we have it – Alliance victory, although only just, I literally had about three infantry left, plus the ‘bots and one operational APC. Had Dan been able to successfully call fire support, we’d have had it. Damn it was fun though! And the Charge of Lt. Polikarpov – Dan, you paint a medal on that guy!
A couple of thoughts – the Tesla troopers actually got some licks in and fried a pair of tanks, but my Dreadnaughts couldn’t do a damn thing – I think we’ll up the minigun penetration just a touch so they at least have a slim chance. The BEastmen need to be tougher too, I suggest scrap the 6+ save and go for an armour rating maybe 9, plus some kind of resurrection rule – fits the fluff better.
Anyway, more new toys to come, plus our fantasy setting – “Hyperian Wars” – stay tuned!
So we’ve been kicking around the idea of a real small unit skirmish/ RPG game in the mold of the classics like Space Crusade, Necromunda and video games like Laser Squad, UFO and so on. Still set in the terrifying world of Apocalypse Earth, where Uncle Joe Stalin is trying to crush the soul of every man, woman and child on the planet with his nightmarish technological and biological contraptions, this is going to focus on the adventures of a small Special Forces team from the Atlantic Alliance as they are drawn into a conspiracy that threatens all humanity…
Still working on the nuances of the rules, but we need some pretty looking toys to test them with, and so I’ve painted up a four man fireteam to represent the AA’s best of the best. Each soldier has a slightly different paint scheme as these are individual operators – I’m thinking the guys from “Predator” here!
So let me introduce:
Lt. Hunt – sporting an M15 assault rifle with underslung grenade launcher, and rocking the US Rangers-in-Vietnam tiger stripe camouflage.
Specialist Hill – DPM camouflage with M15
Specialist Moss – a recent transfer from the infantry, Moss is more comfortable with olive green fatigues and a camo pattern helmet.
Specialist Stewart – seconded from the elite SWAT elements of the Metropolitan Police, he is painted in a prototype digital camouflage pattern suit modelled on the real world Dualtex pattern from the 1970s (thanks to Tacobat over at Modern Warfare for turning me on to this).
I’ve tried to be a bit more creative with the basing – still 20mm cardstock squares, but this time I’ve textured them and layered drybrushing on the basing before adding dabs of flock.
These guys will be battling all sorts and we’re planning to have a full story campaign in the game.. we’re aiming for the feel of “Call Of Duty” with miniatures, as the guys get more skills and equipment as they complete more missions and face more and more dangerous opponents as the story unfolds… It’s a LONG way from completion, but we’re having a lot of fun playtesting!
So we rolled out with everything a couple of weeks back, testing out the new Rampager, Elektra, Inferna and Siberian units on the Holy Soviet Empire side, and letting the Atlantic Alliance give their M85 Autonomous Combat Platforms and M60A3 Centurion squadron a maiden airing. The full after action report will be published in our new (free, digital, available for download here and Wargames Vault)) magazine just as soon as we can get it all written up, photographed and DTP’d, but meantime there are a few fine tuning details we can take away from what was a hard fought, close run and hugely fun game!
Dan, your snipers are way too expensive.L’il ol’ Vasily accomplished precisely squat despite being twice the cost of a rifle squad! Yes he’s hard to hit, but what’s the point of he just sits there? I suggest we halve his points cost and give him an “Infiltrate” skill to ensure he can deploy somewhere he can get shooting straight away. For fairness, we should give my Ghost 7 team the same skill, of course!
Spotting for indirect fire – let’s clear this up. For off table support, I think we can let that be targeted anywhere (“Sir, Zaplinsky reports enemy tanks on the ridgeline!”) but for on-table indirect fire such as mortars,someone in the squad needs to be able to see the target (“Rogers, shift your fire, 10 meters bearing five two!”). Although it pains me to say it after what happened to my HQ, “speculative fire” actually does make sense – “Drop a few rounds behind those bunkers, Corporal, lets flush out anything that might be hiding” – so after much soul searching I’m turned around on this one.
Objectives – For all the fun, the game still turned into a bit of a kill-point-slug-fest by the end. I suggest making each objective 45 vps rather than 40. It still means a bit of a scuffle in smaller games (you can’t win a 500pt match without some shots being fired) but it does encourage more manueuvre. As we saw, you can’t really capture all 4 objectives in a 2000pt game anyway unless the other guy collapses so there’ll still be plenty of carnage!
This is actually a positive but I loved the way the tank fights played out! LOTS of maneuvering to get a better shot through weaker armour, the open spaces on the table east edge were a whirling knife fight between my M60s and Dan’s T-48 and Rampager!
So courtesy of dakkadakka.com I stumbled across what looks to be a very promising Kickstarter skirmish game, “This Is Not A Test”. I checked out the blog and the first entry was about being “miniature neutral” – how you can use any type of miniature to play the game. Very laudable, and it got me thinking.
I designed Apocalypse: Earth with the intent of creating a fun, fast paced game which would be simple to learn but difficult to master, and to keep the associated costs down by using 1/72 scale plastic soldiers. Latterly our gaming and development group has stumbled across the medium of papercraft, which has enabled us to field a raft of vehicles built at practically no cost.
The connection? A:E does not feature prescriptive miniatures, and we positively encourage conversions and creations through the player’s own ingenuity. There is a whole planet, tearing itself apart through a bloody conflict involving many strange and unnatural technologies!
That said, being set in an alternate 1950s allows the base of WW2 tech – helpfully, the most well catered for time period of all! To give you an idea of what’s in our studio armies – the Holy Soviet Empire are represented by WW2 Red Army, with the T-48 workhorse a conversion of a T-54 papercraft, the League Of European Nations represented by WW2 Germans (Cougar MBT is a converted King Tiger papercraft). The Atlantic Alliance have received a tech level boost from the Roswell crash so I’ve used Vietnam War US infantry to represent them, but the background is flexible enough to conceivably include WW2 US, WW2 Brits, 1970s/80s/ Present day Brits, and their workhorse MBT is the M60A3 Centurion – armour enthusiasts will recognise a portmanteau of two iconic cold war tanks.
Taking things to the extreme, the Holy Soviet Empire has it’s elite, genetically modified “Strong Men” Siberian assault troops – represented in the game by Caesar fantasy Orcs, while the Atlantic Alliance elite Dreadnaught squad are US Vietnam infantry converted with greenstuff and cardboard… I look forward to seeing what more skilled modellers than me can achieve!
Over the weekend I found myself with some unexpected free time and with a fair few new models cooked up for both the Holy Soviet Empire and Atlantic Alliance armies, organising a pick up game to let these new toys loose on the tabletop seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up!
We set up both factions with a fairly simple scenario – the Atlantic Alliance forces had a communications relay bunker close to their deployment zone which they had to move forward and secure. Dan’s freshly painted Holy Soviet Empire forces had to take it from them.
We set up on the 6′ x 4′ table with both forces on opposing long table edges as per standard deployment in the rulebook. The bunker was roughly two move actions (24cm) from the southern edge deployment zone where the Atlantic Alliance set up, while it would take two or three turns for the Soviet horde to reach it from the north.
Seeing as we weren’t running a strictly point based game we didn’t bother with fire support, and because we forgot (!) we didn’t run Fortunes Of War either…
Platoon Command Element
Alpha Squad – Rifles
Bravo Squad – Rifles
Charlie Squad – Stinger/ TOW Missile Launcher
Delta Squad – Light Machinegun
Dreadnought squad – Flamethrower, 2 x minigun, Stinger/ TOW Missile Launcher
Ghost 7 – Stealth Sniper Team
Warhawk 4/9 – Rocketeer squad
3 x M60A3 Centurions
Humvee – Minigun
Humvee – Light Railgun
Holy Soviet Empire:
No.1 Squad – Rifles
No. 2 Squad – Rifles
No. 3 Squad – Rifles
No. 4 Squad – Heavy Weapons (2 Mortars, 2 Heavy Machineguns)
Holy Mystic and Entourage (Mind Control and Telekinesis powers)
Lightning Storm Squad
Strong Men Assault Squad in BTR-166 APC
3 x T-48
Rampager Super Heavy tank
T-48 “Elektra” variant with Lightning Launcher
T-48 “Inferna” variant with assault blade and heavy flamethrower
The armour faced off in the relatively open ground to the east, while the bulk of the infantry used the denser cover in the west and central sections of the board.
I’ll spare you the gory details (some of you may have caught the tweets of the best bits), but it was a BLAST! Particular highlights – swirling armour melee on the eastern part as the Allied armour desperately tried to outmanoeuvre the monstrous Rampager which finally succumbed to a point blank shot to the rear.. the Soviet Holy Mystic up to his usual tricks, hurling a Centurion and a Humvee at the Dreadnought squad.. the charge of the Inferna, sawing a Humvee in half with its massive assault blade and incinerating Bravo squad.. the final desperate counterattack led by the Allied Command Element hurling frag grenades.. great fun!
Suffice it to say the Alliance held the day, but only just! A VERY lucky opening shot from the Railgun equipped Humvee took out the APC containing the hideous “Siberian” Strong Men close assault troops before they got a chance to do their stuff – had these made it to Allied lines, they would have caused serious problems for the defenders.
There’s a couple more units still to add – I’ve got some anti-tank Robots to add to the Alliance, and Dan wants to add a Forward Observation team to the Soviets to better spot for their artillery (when we next use it..) He’s also found a papercraft of a Steam Mecha which just looks too good not to use!
We’re going to upgrade some more scenery and get a bit of practice taking better photos, so look for a full battle report in the next couple of months. Til then, enjoy these cellphone snaps!