Monday, February 25, 2013

Ogre Miniatures at Dreamation 2013

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to run two games of Ogre miniatures at the Dreamation 2013 convention in Morristown, NJ. Unfortunately, I didn't run the scenario I had originally intended to run; there was a mechanical issue with the scenario I never could get over (how to have a submarine firing cruise missiles at the attackers without completely unbalancing the scenario), and I didn't get the submarine model done in time to use as a prop on the table. I could have worked around the second issue, but the first was a showstopper.

Anyway, I ended up running a Ceasefire Collapse scenario on Friday, and a Raid scenario on Sunday. As always, click the images to embiggen. The Ceasefire Collapse was straightforward. Both sides started with equal amounts of vehicles and infantry, a Mk-III Ogre, and had at it. Both sides had some towns for the other to turn to rubble, too.

The PanEuropeans (top/left) went for a static defense with three howitzers centered on the towns in the corner of the board.
Most of the early action was on the left flank, as a force of Combine GEVs sweeps towards a lightly defended town.

The PanEuropean Ogre charges over the bridge to try to pick off some Combine units,  but gets mauled for its efforts. The attack on the left flank went really, really slowly as a few squads of infantry (which are tripled in defense in towns) held off five attacking GEVs.

The town was eventually turned to rubble and the GEVs swept right, and the PanEuropean MK-III retreated back over the river, to hide under the cover of the howitzers.

The Combine player begins his big push.

This is what we like to see. Ogre vs. Ogre, nose to nose.

This was the last picture I was able to take before my camera died. Short version; the Combine force off to the left circled around the woods and attacked at the same time as the red Ogre did. Since the PanEuropean Ogre had gotten pretty damaged, and there were almost no PE units left besides the howitzers, the battle was won by the Combine.

Sunday's Raid had a combine MK-III Ogre and a squadron of 10 GEVs attacking a PanEuropean industrial complex which was guarded by another MK-III, some infantry, and a handful of GEVs and light GEVs. The defenders got random reinforcements on every turn, so there's definitely a time issue for the attackers. Futz around too long, and the defenders have so many units you can't win. Note the great orange paint job on the defending forces; one player brought his own Hollanders to the fray.

The Combine attackers (top) split their forces; GEVs on one flank, an Ogre and a pair of GEVs on the other. The PanEureopan defenders (bottom) are more spread out, with their Ogre in the middle.
The Combine GEVs (top) come around the flank and start sweeping everything before them.

The defending GEVs and light GEVs try to pepper the attacking Ogre (in red), but inflict relatively little damage.
The Combine player through more ones on his attack rolls than I have ever seen in any game. It was unreal. (In Ogre, you want to roll high. Ouch.)

The expected duel of Ogres never materialized. They danced around each other, but never had the toe-to-toe slug match I thought would happen. 
Most of the defending buildings and units destroyed, the Combine player retreats and wins a comfortable victory on points.

Review: Curse of the Weaver Queen

A few weeks ago, I got a free copy of Tim Kask's new adventure module, Curse of the Weaver Queen, published by Eldritch Entertainment and available through (and elsewhere) for $7.50 in pdf format. It's 48 pages, b&w interior, two-column format.

I think this is a nifty adventure. The premise is a simple one; hordes of giant spiders and other arachnid-type creatures are despoiling the area, and the adventurers are sent to investigate and stop them. Despite the cover image (which has thematic similarities to AD&D's driders and Lolth), there's not a drow to be seen, but there is a lot of interesting background, motives and history for the PCs to unravel, and an interesting buried temple complex for them to explore in the process.

The module uses a generic system for creature and NPC statistics, so anyone using D&D or its many mostly-compatible systems will find it pretty easy to use off the shelf. Most of the interior art is or utilizes clipart, but there's some very nice original cartography in there as well. The module is site-specific, but does rely on some campaign background that might need some adjustment or retconning to bring the adventure into a home campaign.

I won't give spoilers as to what the adventure itself entails, which is a nicely done dungeon crawl with a good balance of combat and problem-solving. The only flaw I see is that most of the rich backstory seems to be intended to be blurted out by one of the creatures; I would much rather have seen the PCs required to piece it together rather than having it handed to them. But on the whole that's a minor quibble in an otherwise solid adventure module.

Overall, is it worth buying? Yes. This is a solid location-based adventure, with new monsters and magic, and no glaring flaws.

Thieves' Tools

Ever wonder what those "thieves' tools" are on your equipment list? Well, wonder no more:

And the best part is, that lovely set (made from old saw blades, in fact) can be yours for just $62, case included.