Monthly Archives: April 2015

ACES OVER LAKELAND – Taking Flight September 2015

20150416-BlogAnnouncement

I’m pleased to officially announce that we will be working with The Lakeland Role Playing Guild to develop and run a World War I themed, cross-platform campaign that will launch later this year in September! This is exciting for me as my roots in miniature gaming are in the historical genre, something I feel I’ve drifted from in recent years. At the core of the campaign will be a Savage World’s RPG conducted by JDL Member and LRPG Guildmaster Metalhead and an air campaign game mastered by JDL Triumvir Mr Cupcake. The rest of this post provides some additional information on the latter, which will use Wings of Glory WWI by Ares Games and eventually include new products from their recent Kickstarter campaign – Giants of the Sky!

What is Wings of Glory (WoG)?

WoG is a, fast, fun and easy to learn miniatures game of aerial combat. In the game each player controls 1 or more planes. Each turn three maneuvers are planned secretly for each plane and then executed simultaneously in a series of phases that include movement and combat. When a plane is reduced to 0 damage resistance it is eliminated.

Learn more about the game at their Official Site: Wings of Glory WWI.

Do I need to own the game to participate in the campaign?

Not at all! All materials will be provided each session. If you already own the game or decide at some point to invest and wish to use your own airplanes simply notify the GM and he will do his best to incorporate your models.

Where will the games be played?

The bulk of the games will be played at The Lakeland Role Playing Guild‘s bi-monthly Guild Nights. They feature campaigns in rotation, so keep in eye on the LRPG Facebook, Twitter or forums so you know when the campaign will be featured.

The campaign will also make appearances at conventions, most notably those hosted by The Historical Miniatures Gaming Society – South in Orlando, FL, which are typically held at the end of April (Recon) and September (Hurricon).

And breakout/periphery games may even be played at FLGS’s.

How will the Air Campaign be structured?

The campaign will be a GM controlled series of story-driven, linked missions executed with competing players flying as either the Central Powers or Allies (Entente). Missions will include meeting engagements (i.e. standard dogfights), bombing/strafing runs, bomber escort/interdiction, reconnaissance, etc…. The outcome will determine the next mission assignment the squadrons are given by the GM.

Also, the game rules will evolve with the players. This is made possible because the WoG rules are broken down into Basic, Standard, Advanced and Optional rules. By slowly incorporating the optional/advanced rules it will allow players to learn the game progressively while ensuring that sessions will be fresh and exciting for the participants.

Will their be any continuity with the pilots?

Each faction, Allied and Central, will have a squadron roster. When embarking on a mission players will be assigned a plane by the squadron commander and then select one of their pilots to man the aircraft. At the end of the mission the pilots’ statistics and status will be updated in their service record (e.g. any victories achieved, decorations, awards, if they were WIA, etc…). Some accomplishments (e.g. being promoted) will even earn the pilot additional skills/traits.

What if my pilot is KIA?

When a pilot is KIA they are moved to the Roll of Honor (which will likely be featured on this website). From the players perspective, if they have no pilots left on the roster at the start of a mission, they simply generate a new pilot. In this way players are not controlling a single pilot, but rather a series of pilots that they are trying to keep alive as they try and rise to glory. It is likely that players will go through many pilots over the course of the campaign, which is reflective of the high casualty rates seen amongst pilots during WWI, thus adding to the historical feel of the campaign.

Am I stuck with Allied or Central for the entire campaign?

No. Players may have several pilots on either roster and, from game session to game session, can play on either side. They may even manage several pilots at one time and a layer to the strategy will be selecting the right pilot for the current mission. For example, one of their pilots may have been granted a bonus in bombing accuracy and would fair better in bombing missions.

Do I have to participate in every game session?

Absolutely not! While the missions will be linked, there will be clearly defined objectives that can be accomplished in a single game session. In this way even the most transient of players can have a complete and satisfying game experience. At the same time, the “lifers” will be rewarded by seeing how their missions affect the next session and even how they influence and are influenced by parallel games played on in other miniatures systems, board games, RPG’s, etc….

Also, at any level of participation, you will be eligible for Player Awards!

Wait, I get rewards for playing?

Yes! These will come in a variety of forms (e.g. patches, pins, stickers, etc…) and will be distributed periodically by the GM’s for noteworthy performance, special occasions, excessively good/bad luck, etc….

No matter what, though, each player who participates in 3+ game sessions of any platform (i.e. any mix of miniature, board, RPG, etc…) earns the right to wear the Aces Over Lakeland Campaign Patch. Certain accomplishments will even allow players to add devices to the patch. For example, having a pilot become an Ace.

ACES Patch Concept

Aces Over Lakeland Campaign Patch (Concept)

How will the parallel games impact the campaign?

There are a variety of ways in which the GM’s will overlap the various campaign threads. For example, if a pilot crashes behind enemy lines during a WoG mission the GM’s may decide to run a RPG in the next scheduled session to determine the pilot’s fate. This could be a rescue attempt, a group of locals aiding their return to friendly lines or a squad of soldiers hunting the unfortunate airman. Depending on the outcome of that game the pilot could be returned to duty, continue to be listed as MIA or WORSE!!!

…or maybe a successful bombing mission has opened the door for a an offensive that is played out with The Great War board game…

…or maybe a RPG session is played where spies identify a high value target that their faction’s squadron has to then bomb in a Wog game…

…the possibilities are endless, but the overall goal is for players’ actions to have an impact on the story and maybe even rewrite history along the way!

I’ve heard enough! How do I enlist?

It’s easy!

STEP 1 – Sign up as a Member of the League here at our website and follow us on Twitter to ensure that you receive updates from The JDL.

STEP 2 – Follow The Lakeland Role Playing Guild on Facebook and Twitter to receive updates on which Guild Nights will feature the ACES campaign.

STEP 3 – Check out The Lakeland Role Playing Guild website to learn more about the club and the other exciting campaigns that they feature!

STEP 4 – Attend a Guild Night. You can go to your first few meetings FREE. When you decide to join up just pay a small membership fee and become part of a fantastic local gaming community!

FINALLY- TAKE FLIGHT AND FIGHT!!!!

AcesFront_v2

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A Storm Raging on YouTube

Just wanted to bring to everyone’s attention Stormranger_JJ, a friend of the League’s, channel over on YouTube. Here is one of his tutorials on the ever popular Clash of Clans! Show him some League support and give him a Like/Subscribe!

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Battletech Part II – Angel Breakthrough

This is part 2 of a 2-part series on Battletech. You can check out Part I here.

Omega Paladin Unit Crest

Omega Paladin Unit Crest

Having crept up the left flank and holding to cover I was finally closing in on my target. I fired my jump jets and lifted off the canyon floor. As I cleared the edge of the cliff I got my first visual of the valley and the battle unfolding to my right. The communication channels had come alive in the last few minutes, so I knew generally what to expect. Paratrooper was in the center, backing up and furiously exchanging fire with a Crusader to his front. To my front another Crusader sat stoically on a hill and added to the punishment of my lance mate. And on the far side of him I could just make out movement in the tree line that was the point of origin for several missiles, some of which were streaking toward his Trebuchet and others whose contrails went out of view as they tracked on Frosty’s Catapult, the only member of the team I couldn’t see. It would have been a grim sight if not for the final member of the Lance, our commander Sketchy. Her Atlas was just entering the valley and delivering some missile packages on our enemies, a preview of the hell she was capable of unleashing.

A few seconds later my mech settled into the next canyon with a crunch and I waited as the heat indicator dropped. I listened as Sketchy attempted to cover Paratrooper’s withdrawal, her voice calm, but with an underlying tension that told me the situation was getting dire. Finally cool I fired my jets and launched into the air. When I got the next snapshot of the battle my stomach clenched. Para’s Trebuchet was dragging one leg and spewing black smoke into the air. The Crusader he was squaring off with was charging forward, tasting the kill. For my part I took a pot shot at the Crusader that was over watching to my twelve o’clock, but it did no good, it just ignored me and continued to contribute to the fire the enemy lance was converging on Paratrooper. I heard a panicked shout from the comm channel before watching powerlessly as ammunition stores cooked off and the Trebuchet detonated, blowing metal fragments onto Sketchy’s hull as a gout of flamed licked high into the air. His location indicator just disappeared from my HUD.

When I landed this time it was at the base of the rocky hill on which my mirror was perched and I maintained a visual on most of the valley, once again willing my engines would cool faster. I saw as, inexplicably, Para’s killer continued its charge only now redirecting it at the Atlas. In fact, a majority of the enemy fire was targeting the Atlas now. Sketchy seemed unconcerned, our lance channel remaining eerily quiet, as her hulking machine of war turned into the charge. As the two mechwarriors converged the enemy fire became desperate, missile contrails coming from three directions. Then one of those rare battlefield moments occurred, something that sends a chill down your spine because you know it’s a harbinger of death and destruction. Everything went quiet. Not a quiet of peace and tranquility, but a cold silence pregnant with impending violence.

Then the Atlas fired.

The sheer brutality of an alpha strike at close range is an impressive sight when delivered by any mech. When it’s done by an Atlas it takes the experience to a unique and awe inspiring level. One that is rarely a prolonged encounter for the target. This attack was no exception. It was hard to tell which detonations were from Sketchy’s munitions and which were from the Crusader itself, the whole thing just seemed to disintegrate like a child’s sandcastle caught in a Tsunami. The most disturbing part was how casually the deed was done and that the Atlas continued its inexorable march forward without pause.

I was glad she was on my side.

At this point I figured the enemy lance would be shaken and scrambling to adjust their deployment, so I took my chance. Juicing the jets again, pushing them to the limit. I rocketed into the sky and immediately saw that the Crusader was already moving away, down the hill. The worst part was it was also disengaging from its attack on Sketchy and finding a new target. Me. I was letting loose some colorful language aimed at encouraging my Assassin to clear my attacker while pivoting 180 degrees. Sweat was beading up on my skin as I switched to piloting by sensor, the view out my canopy now being a sweeping panorama of the canyon network I had just navigated. I winced as I watched the distance to target indicator counting down to an uncomfortably low number as our mechs passed within a few yards of each other. But we missed and, back on terra firma, I found myself exactly where I needed to be – behind my enemy. Unfortunately it was not square behind and I saw the Crusader’s torso twisting left to bring its weapons on that arm to bear. As I came under fire tracers skipped off my armor plating and the incandescent beam of laser fire slammed home, a reminder of just how outgunned I was in that moment. Knowing that my life expectancy was dangerously close to being measured in seconds I unleashed everything I could into the back of my opponent.

At first I thought I had only scraped some paint, then I saw the mech freeze. That’s when I noticed a scorch mark between two armor plates that was emitting more smoke than the impact of a single missile should have produced. A few seconds later, as I frantically prepped to make a hot jump in hopes of escape, an explosion ruptured the side of the enemy mech. It was quickly followed by several more, each one coming quicker and with greater intensity. Then the Crusader exploded, its hull spreading across the top of the hill and clattering across the canopy of my cockpit. It was probably the greatest kill shot of my mechwarrior career. But it was one that I would sooner have not taken because of what I heard right before the first explosion when the enemy pilot activated the open channel and began calling for aid. It was a voice I hadn’t heard in years, one from my youth.

It was my sister’s.


Omega Paladin Crusader

Omega Paladin Crusader

The Game

Part two of our Battletech battle picked up where we left off. EXACTLY where we left off thanks to the nature of the game board, the mech locations having been noted and the paperwork preserved. As the above fan-fiction outlined we dove right into the combat. Paratrooper and Gigabyte were duking it out and it wasn’t long before Gigabyte killed Paratrooper and then was quickly dispatched by Sketchy. That left us at 3 on 3. A few turns later is when I delivered the lucky shot that took out Crafty (yes, she really is my sister, I wasn’t being melodramatic). With my sibling on the sidelines I then decided to PTFO and scooted off the far side of the table to earn us some VP’s.

At this point Pookie and Preacher were in a bit of a quandary – discretion or destruction? They chose the latter and, though they were able to rattle the Atlas’ canopy a little, they weren’t able to do enough damage and were quickly rendered combat effective by the massive mech and the added pressure of Stinky Cheese’s Cat’pult pouring on the missiles. The game was called when time ran out and was declared a victory for Aynsley’s Angels!


Conclusion

Winning aside, this scenario was extremely enjoyable and once again proved how Battletech is a game system. It’s no surprise that it has truly stood the test of time. The rules have little abstraction and are scalable to player experience and desire for complexity. This is done most obviously by either using the basic rules found in the “Battletech Introductory Box Set” (see below) or the complete rules found in “Battletech: Total Warfare”. The selection of game board can also be used to scale the game difficulty. For example, using a map with little terrain and few elevation changes will make the game simpler and naturally omits many of the rules.

Probably the most defining aspect of the game is the record keeping. Each unit requires a fairly significant investment in time to track damage, heat, speed, etc…. This can be a bit overwhelming at first, but is worth the effort to learn as it provides a gaming experience with depth not often found in a board game (see “Pro Tip” below). That being said, it is generally a good idea to start off by controlling only one model until comfortable with the rules. With practice it will not be long before you have a full lance under your control.

Finally, going beyond the rules Battletech has one of the most established universes in the gaming community. They have built a rich history that spans centuries and encompasses not just the board game and its expansions, but books, video games and a plethora of official and fan-made online content. This background makes it one of the most immersive gaming experiences you can find on the tabletop.


Pro Tip

For each mech it is helpful to use several different colored dice corresponding to the speeds at which the mech is capable of moving (e.g. white=stationary, yellow=walk, red=run and blue=jump). After a mech moves and the number of hexes moved is determined place the appropriate colored die next to the mech showing the To Hit modifier the opposing player will need to add when targeting the mech (use “6” to represent zero if necessary). Doing this will speed up the shooting phase considerably as anyone targeting the mech can see the target move distance modifier and the controlling player can use the color of the dice to determine the modifier of the attacks they make based on their movement speed.

Example:

An Assassin ASN-21 walks 5 hexes in the movement phase. The controlling player places a white die next to the model with the 2 showing since the mech moved 5-6 hexes. During the shooting phase an opposing player targets the Assassin and knows that they have to add 2 to the difficulty of the shot. The controlling player sees a white die and knows that they white, so must add +1


The Introductory Box Set

The introductory box set for Battletech is one of the best on the market and offers a complete game experience. It is, technically, a standalone product and doesn’t require any further investment, but, what’s the fun in that?

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