Saturday, December 19, 2015

MEST 2.0 :: Recent updates

NOTES: My sinus issues have been kicking my butt, and my new job has me wishing for more free-time. I'm finally getting my personal life managed a bit better. I'm no longer crashing into sleep after I get home. Anyhow, I've resumed my efforts on crafting the MEST 2.0 rules a bit better.

version 2.29 as of 2015.12.18


  1. Identified Go Points and Group Actions as Advanced Game rules.
  2. Identified Indirect Range Attack as Advanced Game rules
  3. Identified Deflect, ROF, and Armor Rating traits as charted stats for the Armor and Weapons lists. These are now expressed just like the Impact, Accuracy, and Damage stats.
  4. Added new condition "Snap" for when performing Tests during a React; penalty is -1 Wild die.
  5. Added new condition "ROF" for when using ROF during a React; penalty is to lose 1 ROF point.
  6. Allow Attributes to be dashed; these are essentially a value of zero but the character loses either one or both Base dice when performing tests if the attribute is a single (-) or double (=) dashed value.
  7. Put a lot of effort into clarifying how LOS and how Cover is determined.
  8. Specify that Cover can be "Intervening Cover", "Direct Cover", as well as "Hard Cover". This improves the survival chances of targets in properly defended positions.
  9. Require that a character performing an Initiative Test should have at least half of its forces within LOS.


  1. Introduce a new Simple Action "Swap" to allow models to switch position within congested areas such as corridors and rooms.
  2. Allow Concentrate to apply to any Test a player desires.
  3. Improve Concentrate to double the Visibility OR to better enforce realistic use of range.
  4. Introduce a new Complex Action "Overreach" to allow models to attack over walls, through windows, and past other models. "Overreach" may also be used by passive characters to provide Assist and Outnumber bonuses at reduced benefit.
  5. Put a lot of effort to clarify Group Actions, especially in regards to the Group Move and the Group Volley actions.
  6. Put a lot of effort to clarify use Reacts. Again.
  7. Clarify use of "Charge" and "Impetus".
  8. Introduce "Running before Jumping" to allow models to improve their distance crossed when jumping after running.
  9. Put a lot of effort to clarify the use of Indirect Range Attacks.
  10. Cleaned-up Bonus Action wording where necessary.
  11. Put a lot of effort to clarify Passive Player Options.
  12. Introduced new Passive Player Option "Defend".
  13. Clarified and worded more strongly the difference between Wound Damage and Stun Damage.
  14. Clarified and worded more strongly the Compulsory Actions and Morale status section.

Advanced Rules

  1. Revised the Fire-lane rules in the Advance Game section to be a bit more clear and to cover the 60-degree arc facing the Fire-lane marker. This is an improvement over the original phrasing which limited it to a narrow lane.
  2. Put a lot of effort to correctly word the Custom Archetypes rules to show its use, its expressiveness, and its impacts to the game.


  1. Clarify the Traits overview to show how traits stack when purchased multiple times.
  2. Updated trait [Laden X] to be more effective and clear.
  3. Updated trait AoE X to be more effective and clear. Removed a confusing clause in regards to Stun Damage. AoE X now has a base "kill radius" of X MU, and a "casualty radius" of double that.
  4. Tweaked trait Grit X by allowing it to be taken more than once.
  5. Adjusted phrasing on trait Leadership X to be more clear when dealing with Group Actions.
  6. Adjusted phrasing on trait Pack Mentality to be more clear when dealing with Group Actions.
  7. Tweaked trait Perimiter to allow it to work properly with Overreach. It is also now available for assignment directly to characters instead of being limited to weapons like the Spear.
  8. Clarified the spell Beckon X.


  1. Adjusted the Common Archetypes chart tremendously for Dog (War), Fiend, Predator, and Monster.  For example, each of those now have lower values for INT and RCA. Dog (War) and Fiend actually have dashed (-) attribute values for both.
  2. Added to the bottom of the Common Archetypes chart some variations to allow certain archetypes to pick up the Leadership or Fight traits for a small BP cost adjustment.
  3. Put a lot of effort to capture "design by effect" for Stick of Dynamite and Fragmentation Grenade. The biggest change is that Stick of Dynamite now has high Impact plus the Stun trait. Both munitions now have the [Discard] trait which brings their BP values down just a bit.
  4. The Custom Archetypes build chart now supports "Finishing Upgrades", introduction of the "Perimeter" trait, and the relaxing of the Grit trait to allow stacked purchases.


I'm going to try to create some entries for the really interesting varieties of tactical situations which arise in Close Combat as a result of the introduction of the Overreach feature, combined with Reach, and Perimeter. Defend and Counter-strike are even more interesting now with how they work together with Fight.

Additionally, I'm dying to craft a nice tutorial on designing your own faction using the really nice Custom Archetypes rules.  It will be a good start on how to document that for within the MEST rules themselves.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Russian Art-House Mordheim

I have been a little busy with work and a social life (not involving wargames) lately.
Sadly, because of this, the hobby life has suffered a bit.
My creative juices are a flowin though after I saw this gem, Hard to be a God!

Three hours later and I'm still not sure what the story was about, but I didn't give a damn!
In the mean time, I'll just call it Russian Art House Mordheim.
Absolutely stunning visuals for Mordheim/Bruegelburg/Oldhammer fans out there!

Don't believe me?
Fine, here's some images...

...and that's just a taste of the visual feasts that await!


P.S. Don't watch it with the kids and be prepared for some gratuitous personal hygiene.
Aggro84 signing off...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

MEST 1.60 Updates

MEST 1.60 I think is ready.

OK. This is for the current 1.x rules set.  I've updated that to version 1.60 and released it to the Google Sites location. This rules set is just the Basic Rules for which I will leave on the Web for ever; I hope to not make any more changes to it.

So here's what's been up with that rules set:
  1. I got rid of one of the conditions that caused a character to be Distracted when fighting an opposing character with higher REF.  This was hard to enforce . Also gone in version 2.0.
  2. I got rid of one of the conditions that allowed a character to be no Engaged when in a Scrum which outnumbers the opponent. This was hard to determine quickly. Also gone in version 2.0.
  3. I excised most of the Sample Assemblies. It really was too much to keep up the Build Point [ BP ] costs of each of the entries.
  4. I updated the dice labels for custom blank dice. Basically I added some green to make it easier to read carry-overs.
  5. I updated the Resource Cards using feedback from the convention games.  
  6. I updated the Reference Sheet. Just BP changes.
  7. I updated the set of markers and tokens.  Labeled tokens for those people which do not have access to arts & crafts beads and baubles.

Here's the link:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Chokepoint Scenario


I've been preparing for the Dunjon of Death genre for MEST, and so I've been trying out new ideas. I've created a scenario that allows me to play-test within a congested environment to see if the corridor terrain of a dungeon for a free-form game could work.  This is something different than Advanced Hero Quest or Descent with its tiles and regulated grid; the flow is different and the tools for game-play are different.

The Last Stand

The scenario I created is known as "The Last Stand" but I refer to it as the "Choke-point" scenario because that's what I'm really testing. It is an assymetric battle between two sides; the Heroes versus the Horde.  The Horde outnumbers the Heroes by 4-to-1.  I have it written up on my Google Drive and I continually adjust it after each play-test session.

You can see this as a living document here;

For those of you that can't see the living document - "living" because I'm always liable to tweak it - take a look at the PNG file here:

The "Choke-point" Scenario. Brutal. Very brutal. Basically it is 3, 4, or 5 Heroes as defenders protecting a central location against a Horde of 4 times their number. So a Small game is 3 versus 12.

When I can't directly game with Aggro, I'm sending copious notes and we exchange lots of ideas. Then we play-test solo.  Here's my solo notes to give you guys a sense of what the results have been thus far for the "Choke-point" scenario.  The goal of course is to have the scenario be balanced and challenging:

(To Aggro) This is the mission that I have been play-testing. I think it needs some tweaking, but it is pretty interesting with ... choke-points. I'll continue playing it to refine the scenario. I've been using non-Ranged characters but I'll try mixing it up.

Solo #1
(To Aggro) I finished a 500 BP play-test with 3 Heroes vs 10 Dogs + 2 Average.  Dogs really suck vs. Heroes because they have Bite which includes [Stub]; with the Heroes' Armor, Parry, and Shield that's +4 Modifier dice whenever a Hero is defending; more if using the new Defend option.  Since the corridors are very narrow, even with the Melee Range Tweak, the Dogs really don't get to Outnumber the Heroes that often.  

I've tweaked the mission to make the Heroes defensive position more accessible and to have more of the Horde initially deployed.  

The start of a Small game; 500 BP. 3 Heroes versus a Horde of 12 Dogs. Here I'm using some GW Choas Warhounds.

Solo #2
(To Aggro) I finished the Choke-point scenario play-test #2.  It was a lot closer.  

Started with 12 x Average + Saber vs. 3 x Heroes with Small Shield, Medium Armor, Greatsword.  Lasted until Turn 7 at which point the game ended with the Heroes winning by default. 1 Hero KO'd, 2 Heroes remaining with 1 Wound each.  8 Eliminated Horde. 2 KO'd. 2 left standing. Horde never made it atop the dais but did get past the choke-points a couple of times.

I altered the Choke-point scenario to allow four staircases to the dais.  Maybe this will make it tilt in favor of the Horde. 

I will try another play-test soon.

Solo #3
(To Aggro) I finished the Choke-point scenario play-test #3  It was close but no cigar.  Essentially the same as the last configuration.  At the end of Turn 4 a Horde model was on the dais but could not perform the requisite Fiddle action. The four staircases to the dais helped a lot to balance the game.  The heroes are quite tough.  I played using these new concepts:

Leadership tweak using Solution #2 + Variation. 
I like the Leadership tweak. Makes sense to choose the leader in this manner.  

The Guarded position tweak I need to try again.  I want to streamline it as well from the proposal.

I will play-test again but this time give the Horde some spears.

This is Turn 5 of my fourth play-test of the "Chokepoint" scenario.  The Horde is being smashed yet again.

Solo #4
(To Aggro) Turn 5. Choke-point play-test #4. Horde had one Unlock at the dais but most of them have been KO'd. Just 4 of them remaining, two of which are at the board edges.

Turn 6 had the Heroes get lucky on the dice causing two more KO'd. At that time I called the game in favor of the Heroes.

So the scenario is much more even. Having Spears for the Horde helps a lot.


I've probably got another two sessions at the 500 BP level and then I'll bump it up to 750 BP and bring in the ranged weapons.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

MEST 2.0 Updates

Update! Update! Update!

I'm getting more time to myself again, and so I've been picking up on editing the draft MEST version 2.0 rules. It's been something like 8 months since I started this phase and about 4 months since I've had anytime to regard it in detail.  However, because I'm getting a fresh start I'm able to see a lot more places where I can clarify the rules, reorganize them, or streamline them.

So here's what's been up with the rules:

  1. Table of Contents added.
  2. Introduction and Overview section added describing what MEST does and why its a cool game system.
  3. A "Learning the Game" section has been added to foster a kind of "programmed instruction" feature.  Once the version 2.0 rules get stable, I'll create a subset of this part of the full rules as a Quick Start Rules which will be handy for convention plays as well.
  4. I added a simple paragraph on "running and jumping"; I figured I had to do it.  I stopped short of allowing characters to jump and shoot mid-air.  Maybe that will be a trait once I get into the more acrobatic "Spy/Ninja" genres.
  5. I really focused on the React rules. A lot.  Clarified, re-organized, added proper exceptions and limitations.  It's getting better and better. 
  6. I flip-flopped on the Group Leader and how it may perform Individual Actions.  I didn't allow this before but I think it is necessary, otherwise it won't be compelling nor thematic.
  7. Added a section on "Performing Movement" just to make this critical game feature clear. It probably still needs some work.
  8. I got Aggro's blessing to add a "Defend" bonus for Close Combat Defenders.  I needed to add limits on it but it works wonderfully.
  9. I discovered that Fight X is over-powered and so I added some limits.
  10.  I've created a section describing how missions will be presented so that I can easily add more in the future.
  11. There are now five "Introductory Missions" and six "Standard Missions". I'm still finalizing the last two which are "Area Control" and "Escape!".  
  12. I finally got the nerve to make entries for "Additional Materials" and brought in the Resource Cards and the Tactics Cards rules.  I'm still in progress with updating those cards to the version 2.0 context but its only a matter of time...
  13. Glossary of Terms added. This is ported from the version 1.5 rules and I'll need to adjust the descriptions since I'm sure some of the contexts have changed.
The draft version has no illustrations, photos, or diagrams.  The full-color version will but I'm already thinking that I want more than what I have in the current 1.5x document; perhaps double the count so that every critical rule has a good visual demonstration of it. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Short Fantasy WIP post, June 12th, 2015

Thank you Robert and 24_Cigarettes!

I haven't been able to work on much this week and I have a busy weekend planned. I guess I might as well post a couple quick WIPs then.

A Dreamblade plastic Ogre. Base coat and high-lights with no washes yet.

It's funny, I was just saying "life is too short to paint plastic." the other day.

Fantasy Warriors' Wood Elf. This one is a color test as there are 4 more to do. I think the bow color needs to change as it blends in with the grey flesh tones to much. Other than that I think he is pretty much done.

Here's the color palette inspiration for the Wood Elf from the old Hobbit TV special.

And finally, some sad news. I am pretty sure everyone has heard that the great Christopher Lee has passed on. The world will be a far less cooler place without him. What a great guy.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Some Finished Minis, June 7th, 2015 and what is to come

Thanks Robert and Solo Wargaming on a Budget!
I still haven't tried the tiles out to see if I like the size/configurations.

I had a very productive hobby Saturday and finished a bunch of stuff and got a bunch of minis based.
I tried experimenting with different locations around my house for the best photo results this morning.
For what ever reason, on my dining table, with the blue candle center-piece-thingy gave me the best photo results. Maybe I should just invest in a light box?

Anyways, here is a photo dump.

Fun mini, no idea who made him.

cool min, bad photo, fun to paint.

maybe I will add a banner one of these days.

She was a lot of fun to paint.

Another RAFM. he painted up really fast.

out of focus.

My attempts at a handpainted wolf head shield.

I touched this fellow up so more.

More touch up here to.

Here is the painted Fantasy collection so far, not counting my plastic Skaven and Mordheim stuff.

The grey primered guys were all based yesterday. I already have some ideas for some paint schemes.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

More Fantasy WIPs and how NOT to build Dungeon Tiles.

Thanks Gaz! I appreciate the kind words and the feedback. I still haven't bought that desk but I mostly likely will in the next few months.

I had to work all last weekend and the weekend before that I was out of town, so I haven't got a work done.

First off, I present some more WIPs.

I like some better than others. The Demon on the far right is pissing me off at the moment. All green and he was too boring, so I added some red tints. Now there is too much red. Grrrrr!

Dynamic shot washed out by the sunlight.

I started messing about with some non-metallic metals on a couple of these.

And next...
How not to build Dungeon Tiles.

I made these out of cardboard. Each one is 9 inches by 9 inches. I want to make some proper foam ones, but these were just a tester. They assembled quick, easy and cheap.

As you can see, there are some interesting combinations. I should have made a starter Tile and a final "Boss" tile too. The plan was to hand paint some cobble stone after I sprayed them with textured spray paint.

Unfortunately, I decided to cover the cardboard edges with masking tape. This process was pretty time consuming and took longer that cutting out the tiles in the first place. After I sprayed the tiles, the masking tape, shrunk and peeled in places leaving an unsightly mess.

Oh well, They were only meant to be a trial run for fancy foam boards anyways. It still would have been nice if they looked half way decent though. I doubt I will bother painting them now. At least they only cost me half a can of textured spray paint as the tape and cardboard I had laying around the house.

Until next time....

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Aggro's Fantasy WIPs May 10 2015

I still can't seem to leave Comments...
Oh well. I wanted to first give a quick "thank you" for all the kind words people have left in the Comments section.
Meanwhile, I have another photo I took this morning to see how things were coming a long with the latest batch on my painting table.
I can now see a few trouble areas that need some touch up.
Man I paint slow and I still hate painting eyes, even with micron pens!

All and all, pretty pleased with how things are coming along.
On another note, I was looking for a cheap secratery desk to use as a painting station to keep things neat and tidy. Anybody out there use this one from iKea? I am not expecting quality by any means, I was just curious how the storage for the paints, brushes, etc worked out.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Finished (more or less) Fantasy Models by Aggro 84

Thanks for all of the kind words left in my last post's Comments section.
I can't seem to reply back in the Comments section for some reason, but then again, it has been a while since I have used this blog.

I haven't varnished sprayed these guys yet, so I might go back and touch up a few things now that I am looking at some of the photos blown up again. All around though, I'm fairly pleased with the results.

These guys look better in person (honest). Some of the flesh tones are washed out here. I am still not happy with the thug in the middle, but I am a little sick of him right now.

I am happy with the evil eye Dwarf and the Gobbo warrior. I can really use more Gobbos! This one was really fun to paint.

More Broo. The one on the left painted up the best I think.

After a vote for red hair and a vote for blonde (thanks 24_Cigarettes), I went with orange hair for the thug playing the horn.


A grab bag of what was left over during photographing.

I hope you all enjoy.