Friday, March 26, 2021

MEST Dice!

UPDATE: I recently finished moving into a new neighborhood and I've been digging deep into work. However, I have spent some time on some side projects which I will present soon.

MEST Dice

I discovered recently that The Game Crafter has added custom dice to their list of products. This is amazingly good news because they allow low-volume orders for a fairly good price. I've been comparing their prices against other companies for years now and nothing comes close unless you place an order into the thousands.

What I ordered is a standard set of 18 MEST Dice; 6 x Wild [ Yellow ], 6 x Base [ White ], and 6 x Modifier [ Red ]. These are all 16mm cubes with the 4-5-6 faces altered to be 1, 2, or 3 pips with a circle on some to indicate that they are "carry-over" dice.

The set of 18 dice cost me $23 US. 

In the bag! Zoot alors!

yellow is *Wild* with face-values 0-0-0-(1)-(1)-(3)
white is *Base* with face-values 0-0-1-1-(2)
red is *Modifier* with face-values 0-0-0-1-1-(1)

Template

If you want your own copy, either you can wait until I announce their availability on The Game Crafter or you can build your own "game" entry at that site using these templates below.

These appear all white, but they are loaded into the tool where you can pick your dice colors at








Friday, December 11, 2020

WIP 28mm Farmhouse :: Finished!

I finally did a big push and got my farmhouse finished!

Lessons learned; I used Nuln Oil wash for my weathering on both the interior and exterior of the farmhouse building. Black instead of brown because it fits what I've done before for my other minis. Nuln Oil apparently goes pretty quick and it is expensive. I think I will need to either go back to water + acrylic black or learn how to make my own acrylic flow solution.

The Farmhouse


I tried something new here. Take a look at the captions for more information. Basically I created several inserts within the first floor so that I could have more interior flexibility for use. I also created a false additional door which allows me to use the second floor by itself.

The Pictures

Front of the farmhouse.

Side with a false door addition. This is for later.

False door addition removed.

Back with the chimney. The paneling on the first floor was made by my daughter using coffee stirring sticks for a school-project which I co-opted when she gave the house to me. When I decided to build the top floor, I found some old balsa wood paneling which I used.


Other side. There are two functional doors and a third from the false addition.

Top of the farmhouse. The roof and the second floor are removable.

First floor. The stairs and partition walls are inserts.

Walls partition removed. 

Stairs removed. My immediate and crazy desire at this point is to purchase or print some 1:56 scale furniture. Well, at least an upright piano and maybe a stove and a stool.

Second floor. The staircase is at the back and egresses into the direction of the chimney. This floor is ideal for pulp-era wooden crates.

Second floor by itself.


Adding the false addition.

With the roof. The false addition allows me to use the second floor of the farmhouse as though it were a smaller building.

Friday, December 4, 2020

3D Printed Gaslands Barriers

 This next set I've been working on for a while. They are a set of barriers set up for the Gaslands game which I thought would be a perfect fit for my use of them within the MEST :: Retropocalypse setting.

These designs are available on thingiverse.com at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3990615 and https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2933354. They are created by sablebadger and I scaled them up to be correct for 1:56 (28MM) figurines.

Technopunks against some Radspyiders.

Different view. I have an LED lantern for that crazy light.

Threw more scatter elements atop the terrain blanket. It looks to me that those two Technopunks are gonna die. Also looks like I need more terrain!


Friday, November 27, 2020

Among Us WIP

This is a start of a boardgame experiment for my kid using the Traitor mechanic. I don't want it to be similar to Secret Hitler, Mafia, or Werewolf because it needs to work for just 1 to 3 players if necessary. It also needs to be lighter and with less fiddly bits than games listed here; https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1657498/games-traitor-mechanic

Prototype Art

Here's the pieces I printed and painted. The design is from Thingiverse.com by usre swlhonda at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4635009

Sample hall with six of the Among Us crew members. I will eventually create a total of 12 and include the alien impostor variations.

Game Design Outline

These are my current thoughts on how the game should operate. I'm quite sure that the final design will be very different.

Overview

  1. This is meant to be a 2 to 4 player game. It has player elimination.
  2. Each player controls a competing Team of Science and Engineering crew comprised of 3 to 5 members. One of which is an agitator known to that player but not by the other players.
  3. Work environment is a Deep Space Research Facility on the surface of Europa with competing budgets all reporting to the Corporate Director.
  4. Goal of the game is to sabotage the efforts of the other players while promoting own team.

Elements

  1. There will be a 3D map with multiple Facility Areas, and a Task Deck. 
  2. Facility Areas include several Connecting Hallways, Recreation Rooms, and Dining Area in addition to Med Bay, Engineering Deck, Command Center, Data Bay, Crew Quarters, Docking Area, Engine Room, Weapons Bay, Bio-sciences Bay, and Hazardous Waste Container. There's a different ability for each section. 

Preparation

  1. The Task Deck is stuffed with actions which include cards for Sabotage and Kill.
  2. During the Initiative Phase determining Crew Order.
  3. Draw one card from the Task Deck for each crew a player controls to an hand. Examine the cards and assign them face-down to each crew controlled as part of its Action buffer.
  4. During the Exchange Phase, crew within the same Facility Area may exchange cards freely. Sabotage and Kill cards may be given to other player's Crew's buffer face-down. Do not look at yet.
  5. During the Activity Phase, in Crew Order, navigate crew to each Research Area and place a known card from their hand or one drawn at random from the Action buffer for that crew face-down at that terminal.
  6. Crews without items in their Action buffer can wander to adjacent the Facility Areas.
  7. During the Wander Phase, each Crew may continue to move about spend time in their present Area.
  8. During the Inspection Phase, each Area's terminal with Task Cards face-down has them revealed. If there is Sabotage card; that Area loses ability and it affects the entire Research Facility.
  9. If there is a Kill card; one crew in that Area, per the Crew order, is injured and goes to the Med Bay.
  10. If there are are multiple Kill or Sabotage cards; the damage is increased.
  11. During the Vote Phase, players nominate Suspect crew to be Spaced! Suspect crew are those which remained are in the Area where a Sabotage or Kill card was revealed.
  12. Crew which are Spaced! are removed from play. A player with no remaining Crew is removed from play.
  13. Game continues until just one Team remains in play.

Concerns

I want to use Victory Points for placing Tasks, and for remaining near Facility Areas during the Inspection Phase. I want to allow players which have been eliminated from play to continue scoring VP. I want the winner of the game to have the highest VP.

An idea could be to place Task cards which build sets. Each Team is given a secret favored Set type, and each Task card has different colors. Scoring the most favored sets gives VP at the end of the game.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Update 2020-11-21 on MEST 2.x

 It has been a crazy year. Shelter-in-place. Crazy Presidential Election. And other new and strange
things not worth mentioning here.

These are further notes as of 2020-11-20 regarding the draft file at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw91639XP2nbemNLaE1Ib3N4b28/view?usp=sharing

OVERVIEW

MEST Tactics is a core rules book for battles across matter, energy, time, and space. It forms the basic foundation for multiple settings and genres ranging from Dark Fantasy, Gothic Horror, Victorian Sci-fi, Pulp Action, and Post-apocalyptic Survival.

A new Overview section near the start of the rules outlines the wars across the fabric of reality and introduces the idea of Thought Beings which use the players of the game as proxies for their many battles.

This serves a background for the use of character progression, Champions, Factions, and the Campaign system.

ARCHETYPES

Here are these Archetypes in concise format showing Build Point costs (BP), and their stat-lines for Close Combat Ability [CCA], Range Combat Ability [RCA] Reflexes [REF], Intelligence [INT], Willpower [POW], Strength [STR], Fortitude [FOR], Movement [MOV], and Size [SIZ].

Concise format show them in this triplet set;

CCA-RCA-REF | INT-POW-STR | FOR-MOV-SIZ

Common Archetypes
The are now 5 Common Archetypes which are types of unit profiles which are most frequently available and used within each game session. These are in order of capabilities; Untrained, Militia, Average, Veteran, and Elite. 

Untrained 012|211|223
Humanoid. 7 BP.

Militia 122|221|223
Humanoid. 20 BP.

Average 222|222|223
Humanoid. 30 BP.

Veteran 333|232|223
Humanoid. 61 BP.
Grit.

Elite 333|333|333
Humanoid. 129 BP.
Grit. Fight. Shoot.
  • Untrained represent civilians and other non-combatants. 
  • Militia represent conscripted fighters, green military, and poorly-trained combatants.
  • Average are the regular troops; the most commonly encountered combatant.
  • Veteran are the salty-dogs and experienced fighters. They've seen things.
  • Elite are the crack warriors, the best of the best. Highly proficient at skirmish warfare.

Specialist Archetypes

I've added new Specialist Archetypes; the Healer, and the Agent. 

Healer 012|232|223
Humanoid. 52 BP.
Heal. Medic. Grit.

Agent 132|232|223
Humanoid. 38 BP.
[Solitary]. Grit.

  • Healers receive the Healer X trait which provides +X Wild dice for the Revive action. Cascades can be spent to remove Fear, Burn, and Poison tokens as well as remove the normal Delay and Wound tokens.
  • Agents are terrible at Close Combat, but are better than Average at Range Combat and have higher FOR representing their increased survivability. 

TRAITS

There are 245 traits covering all periods, ages, settings, and genres. There are 38 Disabilities and 128 Abilities in total. These are now given one or more of the 14 keywords so that they can be used with the Character Progression system. Skills represent 60 of the traits, and there are 79 traits associated with Vehicles, Weapons, Armor, and Equipment. 

Here's an example of a new Trait which can be used with any character;

Arcane <Item> — Asset. Magic. Any Armor, Equipment, or Tool may be prefixed with this classifier as part of its name and will function as though the character has that item.

An Arcane Musket could be a regular Musket but it now can be something not sculpted on the model. Essentially it functions as the Conceal trait, but can be Dispelled. 

ROF [Rate-of-Fire] Attacks

The [Feed] and [Jam] traits are removed from the ROF X trait. This allows ROF X to be assigned to Weapons which are not machine pistols or rifles such as Rapid Fire Crossbow.

Situational Test Modifiers

Surprise has been renamed to Suddenness because there are some WIP rules for "Surprise" status now. 

Situational Awareness

This is an advanced rule that ensures that any player's Designated Leader needs to be able to see (have in Line-of-Sight or LOS) at least half the members of their Assembly. It is tweaked now to work better with the Radio X trait by creating a range limit to those members.

ACTIONS

A new feature is Consecutive for consecutive attempts against identical conditions. This is beneficial mostly for Fiddle actions though it could arise for use in combat situations.

Hide has been made more consistent in that all Hidden models may reposition up to MOV x 1" if any Opposing models moves within LOS. Before this was limited to being within Cohesion. Hidden models target by Indirect Range Attacks may always reposition but not lose their status.

Fear Tests

A character performs at most a single Fear Test per Turn. This helps with being targeted by Mythos creatures such as Deep Ones, and also from being subject to multiple Tests when attacked successfully by multiple Opposing models.

Bonus Actions

Cascades are now required to be spent to use a Bonus Action afte a Hit or Damage Test. The Push-back and the Pull-back Bonus actions benefit from spending two or more cascades when the Opposing model has a higher Physicality. Having zero cascades remaining afterwards disallows the Damage Test from being performed.

Passive Player Options

Whenever the Attacker fails the Combat Hit Test, the target character may perform a Bonus Action and acquire a Delay token. The character must of course be Ordered Attentive, in Wait status, or have higher REF.

REACT ACTIONS

Cleaned up lots of phrasing. A Ready Ordered Attentive character within Visibility and LOS of the Active model may also perform a React action without needing a Wait token.

ADVANCED GAME

This has many new additions and rephrasings.

SUPPRESSION

I think this is near-perfect now. Still needs a bit more play-testing. Models with ROF weapons may now choose to perform a Suppression Attack against a target location. If Attentive they'll receive an additional Suppression marker to place if one is already placed for the current Action.

FANTASTIC ITEMS

Several new keywords known as "Classifiers" are available to assign to Weapons, Armor, and Equipment to increase the flexibility of those items. These classifiers function similar to synonyms but have light-weight rules defining their benefits. The new classifiers are; Arcane, Energy, Etheric, MEMSic, and Psychic. With this, the standard Medium Shield could become an Arcane Shield, Energy Shield, Etheric Shield, MEMSic Shield, or even Psychic Shield.

LIGHTING

This has been a headache for a some time but I think it is now near-perfect. It is very granular as presented and so I'll need to create a Basic Game version. The Light X trait of a Flaming Torch (Light 4) or Basic Lantern (Light 6) creates Visibility OR equal to Light X, and provides +2, +4, and +6 for being Ordered Attentive, in Wait status, or in base-contact with it or when holding it. Models in LOS but further away provide a Visibility OR equal to the Light X but with a drop-off of 1-2-3-4-5 at distances greater than 1-2-3-4-6-8 MUs.

MAGIC SYSTEM

This is still big work-in-progress. Most of it is in note form which I need to transfer into the core rules document and make it look pretty. The skeleton of this is place within the document now.

INTERCONNECT GAMES

This a simplification of many hundreds of hours of notes and sub-rules. The key introduction is the Technological Periods and Ages are now defined. These Periods and Ages constrain which Weapons, Armors, and Equipment are available for any given setting.

Experience Points

Still a work-in-progress. It now ties into the Thought Beings concept and works primarily to create Champions though non-Champion characters can also benefit from this section.

Skills Acquisitions

Using the new keywords such as Skill and Psychology aides in identifying which Traits can be improved using Experience Points [ XP ]. A standard way of determining how much XP is necessary to increase the level of that Trait. Answer is usually several Missions. Attributes may also be improved with the application of XP.

Champions

Players control characters within Assemblies and resolve combat using Missions. Those characters can be promoted to Champions which are a sort of collection of bonuses representing a psychic spirit which inhabits physical hosts that are each character. 

Characters which are not Champions are not managed by the player and can change-out between sessions. 

Champions gain a Reputation X trait which behaves similar to Fear X but operates within LOS. The more powerful a Champion becomes the more likely it will want to flee the current reality and escape the control of the player.

Conclusion

There's a bunch of more things in the draft rules, and I'll continue to get them play-tested and cleaned-up. Until next time!



















Friday, November 13, 2020

3D Printing :: The Shores of Tripoli

I took some time to tinker with my 3D printer and scoured through Thingiverse for STL files to print in order to craft a custom play-set. I started this journey in a previous post here.

Here are the results of my effort. A similar article which I wrote in parallel appears at boardgamegeek.com via https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2540417/article/36274186#36274186

The Game-board

I went to Home Depot and had a technician there cut 0.25-inch MDF into those exact sizes. I upscaled the board using Deep AI so that it could be much larger; about 40-inches by 14-inches. The result of the upscaling was a crisp but an enhanced painterly effect, which is what I wanted to pursue. I also needed to use the clone-stamp tool within Photoshop to create additional art mimicking the existing art. I then used Illustrator to re-label everything and to clean up the lines of the various compartments, icons, and shapes.

After mounting the sheets to the MDF, I applied several layers of PVA glue ("Mod Podge") with a large paint brush so that the surface of the game-board looked textured like a painting.

The 3D Printer

I used my FDM printer which is an FL-Sun QQ-S Pro that melts PLA plastic filament and builds things upwards from a hot plate. I think as a first printer, it is good enough for projects involving small printed objects. The largest thing which I've printed is about 5-inches (75mm) tall and about that wide.

The Custom Bits

I wanted to have the entire game to have a painterly finish. To this end, I primed everything with black and then painted that quickly with a base color, ensuring that I leave enough of the black showing. I then did quick dry-brush using mostly white.

Armies

These are half-inch wood cubes I purchased from Michael's Art Supplies. I painted them all in a base color (red, blue, white) and then dry-brushed their edges in tan (for the white cubes) or white. I then added some black just lightly on many edges. I like the final effect.

Wood cubes painted and textured. Tripolitan Army is reddish. Americans are blue. Arabs are white.


Ships

These STL files are from Thingiverse.com. The idea was to have all of the fleets be atop the same size bases (15mm x 40mm) but the gunboats be rendered smaller. The frigates are all three-mast designs. The Swedish and American frigates are the same design but different colors (blue or yellow). The Tripolitan frigate is a different design entirely.

Swedish frigate.
Tripolitan gunboats. Two masts not three.


Tripolitan frigate.


American frigate.

Reinforcements for the American player.


For the Tripolitan raiders, I made them be two-mast designs. For the American gunboats, I printed them as smaller three-mast designs which I think was a mistake because it was hard to differentiate them from the frigates. I will print them again as two-masted ships.

I particularly like the caravels; I wanted to make sure that the Corsairs looked like a fleet and so I made two appear upon each base. 


Caravels for use by the allies in Tunis, Algiers, and Tangier.


I think here the American player should worry about corsairs in Algiers!

Tribute

I decided that the tribute would look better as chests of coins instead of individual pieces of gold. I found this also on Thingiverse and they painted up nicely when I applied several colors each using the dry-brush technique. 

Tribute chest. There's 12 of these.

Unclaimed tribute.


The Overall Look

I am terrible at framing my subject matter properly especially for ensemble or atmospheric arrangements. However, this is what I've got and I hope you like the gestalt of it.










Friday, November 6, 2020

WIP 28mm Farmhouse

I've always wanted to craft a farmhouse building for my Mythos genres for use by MEST. Recently, I've decided to start using my 3D printer for creating small terrain elements and this farmhouse project was a good a place as any.

Printed Items

I either altered the original STL files from thingiverse.com using Blender, or I crafted them directly. 

  • Doors
  • Windows 
  • Stairs
  • Ladders
  • Roof

The Farmhouse

These are various shots of the work-in-progress. I will provide an update once it is painted.

The exterior shot with two 28mm figures. These are Pulp Figures minis, I think. The tiny half-wheel is 3D printed. Blue-foam is nice for shaping, but is very brittle.

The ground floor. The three doors swing open and close. The staircase is removable.

Also removable are the inner walls. This will allow me greater utility for how to use the floor.

Close-up of the second floor. The roof is 3D-printed. It is "good enough" for tabletop. The windows are also 3D-printed.

Inside the second floor. The staircase doesn't quite align with the ingress of the floor, but it works for me! The two large windows are 3D-printed.





Friday, October 30, 2020

3D Printed Tomb Coffins

I printed out about a dozen coffins from thingiverse.com, specifically these damaged ones by DM_Emporium. There's also one with a zweihander sword on the lid but I can't find the link now.

The Mausoleum

A mausoleum is a large tomb, and I thought that having a bunch of coffins prepared could be used for my MEST Dunjon of Death genre as well as for the MEST Mythos one. Therefore, I  painted them similar to the color of the "blackstone" common to Dunjon of Death.

I'm using "Vincent Price", by Bob Murch from the Weird Menace pack at Pulp Figures, as a reference.

All the elements laid together.

A broken coffin atop a plinth.

Hmm. Seems like somebody didn't like coffins and rummaged through here while strewing them about. Could be werewolves. 

Maybe it didn't end well for the wampiri. 


Saturday, October 24, 2020

3D Printed Terrain

 On Thingiverse, there's some really STL files for use as scatter terrain. 

  • The Oil Drum is at 1:32. To make it 28mm compatible, it should be 25mm tall. 
  • The Buddha is nice as a statue when painted in jade and finished with a gloss varnish layer.
  • The Dumpsters are also useful for urban terrain. There's two variations; here's the second.

I painted the dumpsters and oil-drums using the hairspray + salt technique.

HeroClix Master of Kung-fu with Buddha statue

Some dumpster fires

A bunch of oil-drums


Friday, October 16, 2020

Update 2020-10-16

It has been a crazy half-year. Knee injury. Shelter-in-place for COVID-19, while being at home nearly 24-7 with my kids. A new project at my place of employment. And my mother passed on.

FL-Sun QQ-S Pro

My FL-Sun QQ-S Pro
Add caption
First thing. 

Earlier this year I purchased a 3D printer. I decided to stick to the basics. Since I've already got more figurines than I could paint, I chose to get a relatively affordable PLA filament printer; FL-Sun QQ-S Pro. I'd use it for building scatter terrain.

What it is.

This model is a "delta-box" or "Kossel" FDM ("fused deposition modelling") design which means that the armatures hang from the triangular-shaped cage and can print heated PLA plastic atop a heated glass dais. It builds upwards of 12-inches (360mm) tall and about 10-inches (255mm) diameter.

I chose this model because it was compact, quiet, fast, and relatively affordable. 

Problems.

After I received the product, I assembled it mostly by attaching the pre-assembled parts together with screws and clips. This was easy. I tried to run the machine the first few nights and got very frustrated because it didn't print anything properly.

After about a week I gave up.

Shelter-in-place.

Free time is a killer for me. I tweaked the SH44SER rules. I tweaked the MEST 2.x rules. I created maps and illustrations. I did research on many topics including space-flight. I needed to share my day-time use of my "den" (the "computer room") with my youngest and so I couldn't get access to much of my software workspace. I needed to share my "workarea" (the "dining room") with my spouse, and I couldn't get access to my painters workspace. 

So, I sort of gave up a little.

Terminal Boredom.

This actually seemed to be the kicker. 

Honestly, I spent most of time either scouring the RPG design forums or the various political forums because our current state-of-affairs in the USA are a bit wacko. After many weeks of this, and sulking due to other stress effectors (see above) I just let that stuff taper off.

I recognized that this would be a good time to re-start my 3D  printing endeavor. I watched lots of videos and read a bunch. I re-tried my printer after calibrating it and running the correct software. Basically, I decided to actually understand the expensive tool which I purchased.

Tshotchkes.

I got several simple things printed. It worked!

With gusto, I decided to go forth and visit thingiverse.com and print the small things from there. I started with elements for my terrain-building efforts. Doors, windows, ladders, etc. Each of the items I printed I think took somewhere between 5 and 30 minutes depending on their size. The windows were about 5 minutes, the doors about 15 minutes, and the coffins were about 30 minutes.

Here's a picture of what that looks like;

This is about $150.00 US in printed stuff were I to have purchased them.


Money Saved.

Fast-forward two weeks to today. I have printed nearly 150 items. The going rate online for purchasing the equivalent of what I printed is about $1.00 US for each tiny little element. I've saved about $150.00 at the sacrifice of my printer's time and my ability to load the latest shape files for it.

New Skills.

Blender 2.90 for my Mac. Blender 2.79 for my Windows box.
I'm an entry-level shmuck for 3D printed objects but I will learn more. I'm currently practicing my 3D modeling skills using some really nice software known as Blender 3D. Already, I have learned how to adjust other designer's shape files. I'm learning now how to build my own super simple elements such as windows and doors. Eventually, I intend to be able to craft whichever I need for gaming.