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.