Thursday, 27 April 2017

Wargaming, blah blah blah.

I've got nothing to show you, toy wise, so I thought I'd sprout a bit of verbal diarrhoea at you instead. Sit still, while I fling this in your general direction!

I've been on the hunt, unconsciously and/or consciously, for the perfect rule system all of my gaming life I reckon. The wargames that I've come across in the past (that I've liked enough to want to play that is) have only ever catered to one game mechanic really well, while failing, or butchering the rest. And while I've not found the perfect system yet, I've been more than happy enough just playing with the closest to perfect system instead. I can't be the only one who thinks this way. Or am I? Maybe I am? Read on if you want to learn more about my possibly solo delusion.

My main problem with rule systems (to date) is that there are generally two types. Ones that have a whole a huge tome that you have to plough through to know how to play the game, lots of tables, stats and other game critical information spread throughout. But the tabletop only ever contains the "playing material" i.e. the minis, terrain etcetera. An example of this would be RT or WFB. The second type, on the other hand, is almost the complete opposite. A paper thin rulebook, with straight forward rules, and maybe a small reference sheet. But the tabletop is covered in a shit tonne of counters, as well as the minis! Just to keep track of everything i.e. Stargrunts II.

And while enjoy playing the above mentioned wargames, their less than ideal. Their just missing a few key elements that would making them the perfect game system for me i.e. no counters on the table & intuitive rules.

Pulp Alley is one rule system I tried a few years ago that promised to address some of the problems I mentioned. The weapons and combat mechanics had been simplified, in a good way, but the rest? Not so much;

I'm not a fan of their card system as it replaces much of the skill element I like in a game with too much randomness instead. Card systems are fine if they introduce "some" randomness to a game, but not when they play a critical role in deciding the outcome of the game. If my input is not really having any meaningful impact upon what's transpiring, then what's the point in playing? Might as well be playing Snake & Ladders.

The objective locations are a little meh :( It's nigh impossible to come up with unique objective locations every single game, so they just end up becoming same same.

The almost impossible chance of killing head honchos is pretty annoying too. And yes, before you say it, I know it's a game of pulp, but it just ends up feeling like your efforts are pretty useless sometimes. The big guys manage to elude death time after time, head shot after head shot.....bloody infuriating!

So, where am I now then? In my search for the ultimate system, my holy grail of gaming? Well, I've given up on finding it in print that's for sure. So I'm in the process of melding/shoehorning what I think are the best elements, in my limited experience, of what I've played into one system. I'm erring more with Stargrunts II to tell you the truth. It has an ace dice system that takes care of many different mechanics i.e. ranges, troop quality, injuries, cover's quite snazzy really!  But it's proving to be quite a difficult task to coming up with a way of separating the squad element of the game into that of an individual character system instead. More work required :(

Well, that's enough rambling from Mr Papafakis for now. I've got a lot of other gaming related projects that require my immediate attention. Till next time brothers :)

Sunday, 2 April 2017

"Yes, but will it fly Jim?"

Strange title, but bear with me :)

About a year ago my son handed me one of his toy guns and asked me to fix it."Of course I will my son, what else am I here for?" I said :P

So, after stripping it down and having good look at it I soon realised that it was too far gone. All the internals were worn out from all the pretend combat that it had seen. Time for the bin I thought? But wait, hang on a minute! On closer inspection, with my miserly kitbashing goggles firmly fixed in place, I spied a "space-shippy" kinda thing hidden within the shape of the gun.

And this is where my journey began, almost a year ago. I've been plugging away at this, on and off, while completing other projects. Want to know more? Read on.......

Ooooooh, I can see a spaceship in there, I just know it.

With a bit of hamfisted photo editing magic, this is what I came up with.

So, out came the butchering modelling tools and I set to work.

These sections were going to be used as the landing gear hatches.

I wanted the body of the ship to be much wider than the engine pod.

So, I spaced all the screws holes out with plastic tube. And installed longer screws to compensate.

The top handle for the gun got transformed into a window, ala cardboard backed up with plastic for proper alignment.

Next up was the engine pod. I fixed a plastic tube along the entire length of it.

Then I added a plastic shower rail section into the body of the Spaceship. This had the exact I.D. of the engine pods pipe O.D. 

Starting to make sense now? The engine pod fucks the spaceship but good!

After that mechanical sexual encounter was over, this is what the Spaceship looks like.

Next up was the landing gear. the trickiest part of the build I must say. Trying to find something that would have the right
geometry, as well as the required strength, was quite a task.

In the end, I opted for a set of quad-copter landing legs. Cheap, strong,
cheap, having the right geometry.......and cheap. 

Here's the ugly fuckers in place.

And here's me trying to figure out the correct angles for the entry hatch.

Getting there.

It was at this point that I took another look at the silhouette of the ship. It wasn't really "doing it" for me. The engine pod was looking too long, basically not bad arse enough for my liking. So, after all that work, getting it to mate up perfectly to the ship, I decided to go back to the drawing board.

I wanted something a little more subtle. A smaller, more rudimentary engine arrangement.

So I dug out these old toy bongo drums and set to work.

And I came up with this. Nothing too flashy, just an engine way too big to be technically sort of RT :) 

Coat hangers, speaker wire and toy bits were sacrificed at the kitbashing alter.

A yo-yo, plastic cup and a pen lid channel the thrust of this engine.....pretend like.

This is how I joined the wire together to fill in the empty spaces in the engine compartment. Hot glue to the rescue! 

I filled in the spaces between the two halves of the ship with old public transport cards, as you do.

Then I used body filler to fill in the spaces to the correct height.

Another tough part of the build, bulking out the legs. Their not finished yet, but you get the general idea :)

Remember the hatch angles I was playing with before? Well, this is the hatch at the moment. Gunna magnetise it I think.

So, this is the "used to be a gun, but now a spaceship" project as it stands today.

Next up is the landing gear bay doors, entry hatch, front window, a couple of turrets and a few other bits and bobs.

Stay frosty :)