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Strange Aeons game day

Yesterday one of my mates came around for a bit of a catch up.  We have known each other for a long time now, but due to life getting in the way, we usually only catch up once or twice a year.

 This year we decided to try and make catching up a bit more frequent, and to this end we decided to have a day of playing Strange Aeons.

My friend is more of a role player than a war gamer -mainly due to the need for a large number of figures and space to play games in.

 Seeing as we both enjoy Call of Cthulhu a lot, I decided to introduce him to Strange Aeons.

To save time I created the Agents and Lurkers needed for the game and then explained the game basics to him.

The first game was a simple one - the 'Fight' scenario.  I played the lurkers and my mate played the Agents.

 The first game was won by the agents - the lurkers took a bit of a pasting, only managing to hit one agent for the entire game, and even then the agent didn't suffer that much at all.

Set up for the first game
The lurkers advance towards the agents

The cult leader goes down in a blast from a double barrel shotgun

After lunch we decided to play a second game - this time with me as the agents, and my friend as the lurkers.

My mate chose the "Treasure Hunt" scenario to play and I wasted no time in my tactics - with two of my agents taking cover in some ruins, my third agent searched for the hidden item.

 My dice rolls for searching were pathetic to say the least, and in no time the lurkers were upon the agents, and a gun fight ensured.

Initially my agents carved up the cultists, and it looked like it would be an easy victory.

But the cultists managed to shoot my top agent. He was taken out of the game, but didn't suffer any major injury, so he can return for the next game.

It was at this stage that my other agent finally found the item he had been looking for - about time!

The agent taking cover in the ruins took revenge on the cultists for wounding his boss, and managed to take them both out.

Both games were a lot of fun, and my mate even expressed an interest in playing a campaign via email using maps and photos.

'Nam project - campaign game 1

I played my first game in my Vietnam Campaign today, and it was an odd one - not a single shot was fired!

The Mission

 Team 22 is to position itself near a trail and observe any enemy activity before withdrawing from the area for ex filtration.

 They are to observe the enemy and collect information only. They are to count the number of enemy in the area and make a note of weapons and equipment.

Once in the vicinity of the trail they are to set up an observation post and remain undetected. 

 Should the Team be contacted they are to conduct a fighting withdrawal to a PZ.

area of operations


 Intelligence indicates that trained local VC are operating  in small groups.

The Set up

 Using my charts I determined that the enemy would be local VC that are trained but with poor T&E. I placed my LRRPs in their OP.  Due to a poor insertion, the threat pool for the game would be at +1 for the game, meaning a blip would appear on a 1 - 7 at the start of each turn.

 The mission would last until all blips had been used (a total of 6 blips were rolled for) or the LRRPs were contacted and forced to withdraw.

The LRRPs set up their OP with two men watching the trail, with the other four pulling security around the perimeter. 

 The LRRPs would get one Victory Point for every blip spotted, while the VC would gain 1 VP for every LRRP removed from play.

The Game

 The first blip placed turned out to be nothing. Maybe it was a wild animal in the undergrowth.

First blip was a false alarm

 The next blip was a party of VC moving east to west along the trail. The LRRPs spotted the VC and started making notes for their debrief back at base.

 Chattering amongst themselves, the VC failed to notice how close they were to death.

chattering VC - discussing what was for dinner maybe?

 The next few turns saw two more blips appear, both moving east to west.

activity on the trail increases

The first of the two blips turned out to be a false alarm, but the second one was another group of VC.

The closer blip was a false alarm

Again the VC failed to notice the lurking LRRPs. Realising that only two watching the trail could cost a VP or two, I pushed one of the LRRPs into a position closer to the trail, but making sure he remained hidden.

But the next one wasn't.

After a bit of inaction another blip turned up, this time traveling West to East along the trail. They were spotted, but luck remained with the LRRPs, who remained unnoticed.

The repositioned LRRP is hiding near the trail.

The final blip appeared on the East end of the trail, and the VC and the blip crossed paths.

The VC automatically spot their own.

  This final blip was nothing of importance.

No enemy - time to go home.

With all the blips now activated the mission parameters had been met and the LRRPs moved off to their PZ for the return trip back to base.

Final Notes

 The LRRPs gained a full 6 VPs for the game. As I mentioned, not a shot was fired. This would have changed had the VC spotted the Team hiding near the trail.

 The poor T&E of the VC is what made this mission a success. They basically needed to roll a 1 on a d10 to spot the LRRP team lurking near by.

 Due to their higher T&E, the LRRPs had a 50% chance of spotting a blip, and given that their activation pool was higher too, they had more chances to make spotting attempts each turn.  As it was they almost missed spotting one blip.

 I created a number of charts for determining the set up for the game - what type of enemy, their level of training etc.

 I need to come up with a random terrain generator, and make some extra trails and river sections to allow for this random set up.

 Not all games will be this easy, and a better trained and equipped enemy would have busted the LRRPs earlier on, setting up a fire fight.

 I also want to have a crack at making some small sampans so I can have some river traffic to observe as well.

The Department

The Department is a "not Bladerunner" wargame.


 Using the Goal System mechanics of "Super System" and "Chaos in Cairo" (to name but two Goal System games), the Department is a sci-fi investigative game where players search for clues and evidence in their fight against robots that look like every day citizens.

 Most people have seen "Bladerunner", so you get the idea.

The Department was a 'Kickstarter' project that met it's funding.  I didn't buy into the funding as Kickstarter required you to use your credit card online. After having my card used illegally (and at great cost) I flatly refuse to use my CC online anymore.

 The project was fully funded, and the rules have been released to the general population, as it were.

 Rather co-incidentally the release of "The Department" came on the heels of my "Terminator" project that I posted about on the "Board of the Living Lead" forum yesterday. More about the 'Terminator" project much later.

The Department is available as a PDF - I am not sure if you can buy a printed copy of the rules yet, but I went with the PDF as I wanted to see if the rules were what I was hoping they would be. At $11.95 it wasn't going to break the bank.

Initial Thoughts

 After a first read through I am happy to say that  I am pleased with the rules and how the investigation occurs. Rather than just shooting androids, the game requires you to find evidence that a Fabricant is in fact a Fabricant before retiring them.

 The goal system is easy to use, and anyone familiar with the other games will pick this one up very quickly.

 The rules cover character creation, combat, investigation, scenarios, a neat system for the control of non characters, and a set of rules to cover what happens when the character agents get heavy handed and Internal Affairs needs to set in.

 The zip file containing the PDF rules has a full colour version and a printer friendly version.  The full colour version (FCV) has 140 pages, and the printer friendly version has only 81. That is because the FCV has almost 59 extra pages of 'fluff'.

 I say almost, as the FCV includes pages on using the game as an RPG instead of a wargame.

 In my opinion those extra pages of fluff are a huge waste of space. It could have been cut down to a few pages of background information on the game setting.

 What did disappoint me was that there are absolutely no photos of minis or games that were played.

 I would have happily gone with out the artwork in favor of some eye candy in the form of painted minis and photos of game set up shots: the kind of photos that help inspire players to paint up their own minis and make their own scenery.

Having said that, you can see photos of the game in play on "The Department" web site.  Why this wasn't included in the rule book has me buggered (to use one of my Nation's favorite expressions).

I hope my little rant on the contents doesn't put anyone off trying the rules - the game itself looks like it will be fun to play, and it has campaign rules allowing for great replay potential.

 Final Thoughts

Overall the game looks great (on a read over only, and not actual game play... but having played a number of Goal System games I understand how it all works)  and anyone that is a fan of Bladerunner should enjoy playing their own investigators on the streets of the future taking out Frabricants.

I intend to make future post about the Department showing figures and scenery I think will be useful for putting together a game.

Shelldrake's Ratings:

Game mechanics: 5 / 5
Presentation: 3 / 5

Summary - I highly recommend "The Department" to anyone interested in the setting.

Anyone wanting more information can visit the web site for the Department

'Nam project - jungle scenery

As mentioned, my painting and hobby activities have slowed down a bit. Before the activities with the pruning saw I had made some more jungle scenery for my game.

I didn't get around to painting or flocking them though. I will have a crack at that soon to see how the hand holds up.

In the mean time, here are a couple of photos showing what I have made:

Most of the left half of the area is scenery I made recently

The dark green trees I made last week, and the unpainted bases I made a few days ago

I am at a stage with vegetation that I can play games happily enough - but I want to make more. I guess I have to decide when to stop and when too much vegetation becomes too much to play the game.

 I do want to make more of the frond scenery, and make some small fern bases to give lower vegetation.

Home made hot wire cutter

Seeing as I am limited as to what I can do with the hobby at the moment due to an incident with a pruning saw and one of my fingers, I thought it would be a good time to catch up with some things on my blog.

I mentioned in another post that I had made my own hot wire cutter, and cmnash was interested in seeing what it looked like.

 Well, it isn't very pretty, but compared to my old purchased hot wire cutter it is a samurai sword!

 This thing gets rather hot, but it really does the job.

The design was so simple that I felt foolish for thinking it would be hard to make.

I based what I made on the design I found on the terragenesis web site, and if I had the ability to make it better I would have: hot wire plans

Anyone making their own should note - this thing glows red. I am not sure if I should have thicker wire or not, but I would suggest getting a power supply that puts out the amps suggested in the article.

Strange Aeons - Morbid Adventures

The latest book for Strange Aeons has arrived, and my initial thoughts is that I am a little under whelmed.

 Perhaps I was expecting too much from this one.

 Don't get me wrong - it is a very useful book.  It contains lots of scenarios, including variations of each one, it has combined weapon charts that get used most during a game in one handy spot, and a master list of lurkers and their powers.

 I think the bit that under whelms me is that a) there isn't a lot that is new in the book, and b) one of the main reasons I purchased the book was for the section on solo game mode.

 The solo game mode section was a real kick in the guts for me.  Basically the section says "you can play this game solo".  There are three paragraphs on solo mode, and I summed it up on one short sentence.

 The book is useful, and I am glad I have my copy of the book, but if you are starting out with the game I wouldn't buy it just yet, unless it was part of a bundle deal that made it cheaper.

'Nam project - Buddha statue head

As I mentioned in a previous post I found a Buddha statue head that had just become available to buy. The head is listed as a base for putting miniatures on, but I thought it would be great as a piece of scenery for my Vietnam game.

 It arrived on Wednesday and I finished painting and flocking it on Thursday.

Now I need to make a few ruin wall pieces to go near by.

My 40 trees also arrived and I have based them up. I just need to paint and flock the bases and they will be finished.

 I would have liked to have done it this weekend, but I have other commitments that will mean the earliest I can work on them will be next week.

 Oh, I also made my own hot wire cutter - this thing is super effective and I will show some handy work and a photo of the cutter next week with any luck.

Black Powder

I went around to my Mate's place last night and we started a game of Black Powder. It has been around a year plus since we last played a game of BP, so we decided to learn the rules again.

 After cleaning the gaming table a bit we deployed our troops, both sides are from his collection of 15mm French and Prussians.

 This is the set up for the game - we are playing three brigades per side for this game.

My French

His Prussians

As you can see the scenery is nothing special at all for this game - we places a couple of buildings on a whim. Once we know what we are doing with the rules we will add extra scenery for our next game.

 After one turn each we ran out of time for the evening, so we will take up the game again next time I go around to my Mate's place.

'Nam Project - NVA finished

I finished painting and varnishing my NVA yesterday and finished basing them today.

Here is my entire collection of NVA figures:

 The officer in the centre is for scenario purposes, as are the two snipers to either side of him.

 The remainder make up two squads for my game.

 I did have to double up on one of the pack of NVA to be able to make the two squads. TAG make enough VC that I could have two squads with no double ups, but they haven't done the same for their NVA.

 Now the NVA are completed I have some extra VC to paint up - enough to complete my two squads of VC plus a HMG with crew.

 Once the VC are done I will look towards getting some Civilian figures from West Wind Productions.

'Nam project - more scenery

In between painting up my NVA (I only have seven more to paint and they are all done) I have been making some more scenery.

Using the same method as my previous post I used some frond like plastic plants to what I think is good effect.

These are the made up items:

These are the same ones with a TAG War Correspondent to show the scale:

And here are some 'action' shots to show what they look like on the gaming table:

LRRPs in the foreground, NVA in the back ground and VC on the path

Close up of the first 'action' shot

Side view showing the new scenery placed on the edge of the trails to show how modular scenery can work

 I have a lot more of these 'fronds' so I will make up some more of the scenery pieces as well as cut some down for low level fern type bits and pieces.

I am really happy with the way the playing area is starting to fill out. I have 40 model railway trees on the way, so by the time I base those up and make some more of the grass tufts pieces you can see in the photos I should start to have some decent scenery for once.

'Nam project - some scenery

After having some plastic bits and pieces sitting around the place for years I finally came up with how I wanted to use them.

 I was sent the bits years ago from a fellow Victorian that helped me out over at the TMP forum. (Thanks Pat - just in case you are reading this).

 Unfortunately I only had enough to make what you see in the photo - I would love to make another 10 - 20 of them to really put around the playing area.

 They were really simple to make too - cut out some cardboard, tape the edges so there were no gaps, glue the 'grass' to the card with hot glue, plaint the card and then flock. 

To give you an idea of how tall they are, here is another photo with the TAG 28mm downed pilot figure:

 On a whim I also painted up a figure I intend to use as a encounter as part of my random event list for the game:

The photo isn't the best, but it is a 28mm scale cobra that I had lying around from Mega Minis in the U.S.

I made sure that cobras are found in Vietnam before painting it up though.

The "Where Heroes Dare" rule book has stats for cobras, so I will be able to include this nasty critter without having to do any work except look it up in the book.

My first Superheroes

As mentioned in my previous post I painted up a few superhero types instead of painting my NVA.

Well here they are:

The one on the left is the "Cougar" and the one on the right is, well, I don't have a name for him yet.

I have worked out the stats and powers for each of them though.

Just need to come up with a name for the bloke.  I was toying with the "Templar", but I am not overly enthused about the name.