Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Odds and Ends

I'm on a mad hunt for Star Wars Starship Battles loose figures. That means I'm willing to pay up to 3x the shelf value of the item for the item on eBay. Not so bad, when the shelf value is around a buck. My Grand Army of the Republic is almost assembled.

I am 9 points away from First Sargent. That's like, 4 kills and an assist. One more round and I'm there. Looks like the BF2S signature generator (which I use to produce the above banner) is broken. Something about a hardware failure. At least it hasn't killed the current picture.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Further Modified Risk

I've been mulling it over and I think you could carry my changes from SW:CW Risk to standard risk. At least if you have one of the latest versions with actual men and horses and cannons.

Here's what to do.

Forget about the cards, except may be as a way to randomly pick a starting country. Each person starts as one country, with 20 men, 5 horses and 3 cannons. Again, each country is worth 1 point. You count your points at the start of your turn to see how many new units you can have. If you don't have a unit on a country, you don't get a point for it. The exception to this will be in the continental control rule, below. Men cost 1 point and use the d6. Horses (cavalry) cost 3 points, but use the d8. Cannon cost 5 points, use the d6 but allow you to bring an extra unit into the order of battle.

Changes to combat - as in normal Risk, the attacker may roll up to three die. Which die he rolls depends on which units from the attack he is including in the order of battle. If he includes a cannon (1 or more) he may add one d6 more, increasing his maximum to four units and 4 die. This applies likewise to the defender, who normally rolls 2 die, but may add a cannon and extra d6.

As normal risk, each rolls his dice and compares highest results. In the event of a tie, the defender wins. The player who has lost a piece chooses which piece to remove from the pieces in the order of battle (i.e. the ones used to determine which die to roll). Other units are considered reserves, which may be brought up on the next round to bolster your order of battle.
As the attacker, you may withdraw so long as you launched your attack from an adjacent country. You may not withdraw along shipping lines (marines always have it rough). If you withdraw, all of your units must return to a friendly territory (one you already control) from which some of your force must have come. You may withdraw after removing casualties and before rolling die for the next round has commenced.

Continent Rules - If, at the start of your turn, you control a whole continent (Australasia, say) you get the bonus production normal for that continent (2 for Australia, I believe). If you have achieved control of a continent, you no longer need to occupy each country to receive its production, you will receive all production for the continent (and the bonus). If, however, someone should "break" your continent, these unoccupied countries return to neutral status until they are later occupied. Before continental domination maybe declared, you must have had at least one unit in each country of the continent at the start of your turn. I think. I'm waffling on continents ATM.

Supply rules - you get a point for each country you control, to spend on new units, at the start of your turn. If you don't have a unit in a country, you don't get a point for it (obvious, I know) - but don't let that stop you. You may withdraw all of your troops from a country.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Star Wars Risk (v1.1)

I had a very cool game night tonight. Zachary and I had a go at my version of Clone Wars Risk. Now, I know some of the uber geeken are shaking their heads about the Clone Wars, but you need to keep in mind two things:
  1. My kids love the new Star Wars. Maybe more than I loved the old Star Wars.
  2. I like the Clones and the Droids. (Yes, I hate the gungans. Sheesh. You're incorrigible.)
So I simplified it and changed it. I haven't liked old risk in a bit. Now Star Wars (Clone Wars ed.) Risk adds some new stuff, most of which would be way over a five year old's head. So junk all the cards and things. I cut it down to the four factions available (red and yellow clones, blue and grey droids). I made two distinctions between pieces. Guys (Phase 3 clones or Super Battle droids, regardless of color) are worth 1 point. Each faction starts with 20 of those. Guys roll 1 six sided die for combat. Tanks (Turbo Tanks for clones, AATs for droids) are worth 3 points, but get to roll an eight sided die. You didn't get any tanks at the start (but I think next time I'll give 3).

Each Faction gets 4 starting locations. Red goes on Coruscant, Duro, Biss and Alderan. Yellow starts on Ilum, Malastare, Toydaria and Bogden. Blue starts on Mustafar, Utapau, Geonosis and Polis Massa. Grey starts on Kashyyyk, Felucia, Mygeeto and Saleucami. You can distribute your starting guys how you see fit, but for this game I went 5 on each for all factions. Zachary was in a Republican mood, so he decided to play the clone factions, and I played the Separatists. Ignore everything else in the box for now. He's not really old enough for this, why bog him down with more choices.

The turn order goes red, blue, yellow, grey. The first thing you do is count the number of systems you control. You get this many points to buy new units this round. Guys are1, tanks are 3. Tanks roll a bigger die. Once you pick your new guys you place them. If you don't spend all your points you don't get to keep them, so you may as well. You place new guys on the systems you already control.

Now you move. All guys and tanks get one movement. They may move to any adjacent system or across a hyperspace line, but not both. If you want to get a point for a system, you need to leave a guy or tank in it. You don't get points for systems you don't have guys in. But you don't "have" to leave a guy behind.

After you moved all the pieces for you current faction (your only faction if you're not playing two) you fight any battles you created. A battle happens anytime your troops enter a system where there are troops from the other team (there are two factions for each team). This is like risk but not, move all your pieces you want to move, then fight the battles.

The attacker (it's your turn) uses the black die. He gets a maximum of 3 die. He chooses three of the units in the attack to fight this round. If he chooses a guy he rolls a d6, if he chooses a tank he rolls a d8. Any combination is valid to a maximum of three die. If you have 3 tanks and three guys, then you can have any combo of 3d6, 2d6 and 1d8, 1d6 and 2d8, or 3d8. If you have less than 3 pieces, you use less than 3 dice as appropriate.

The defender uses the same system, but only selects two pieces to defend from the units in the system under attack. She rolls the white die (d6 for guys, d8 for tanks).

Each player rolls their selected die and compares the results. Each player presents their highest number first. Of these two die, the higher result wins, and that person must remove one piece (their choice) from the battle location and place it back in the box. In the result of a tie, the defender (rolling the white die, whose turn it is not) wins and the attacker must choose a piece to remove.

Battle continues until one side or the other is eliminated or the attacker retreats. The attacker may retreat only if he came from an adjacent system (rather than using a hyper space jump). He must retreat units back to the system from which they came.

Repeat until one team or the other is eliminated.

We had a blast. And I seriously thought he was going to hand me my hat for the first hour. It was a combination of die rolling (good on him, bad on me) and a seemingly uncanny grasp of the concept of focused attack. I won in the end because I have a better grasp of supply and eventually seriously out numbered him.

But it was close for a while.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Into the Darkness

Assault Rifles Armor Spec-Ops Strike at Karkand

The dark ages begin now.

I will not re-new my World of Warcraft account. Today.

One day at a time. Thats what they say. One day at a time.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Well, officially, I've got World of Warcraft Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I have two days until my account officially expires. And I've re-installed Diablo II.

All I need to do is stay away. I know that once my account expires the hurdle will get larger. It will be more effort to go back an re-activate my account. Of course Blizzard has indicated that they will maintain my data for me, so no worries, you can just jump back in where you left off.


Something else will come along. I still haven't picked up 2142. And when the game isn't being ruined by some goofball with a hack, Battlefield 2 still rocks. And I have a lot of G.E. work to catch up on.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fourex (4x)

I discovered that Space Empires V came out while I wasn't looking. Well I wasn't really paying all that much attention, but 4x games don't come out all that often anymore. That would be Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate for the uninitiated (as coined by Alan Emrich in an early article on the subject). Some of the best 4x gaming has been presented in the iconic Civilization series (that would be Sid Meier's Civilization , not Avalon Hill's Civilization , which has it's own merits but lacks the whole computer presentation).

These games usually feature a set of interlinked modules designed to present you with the concept of running an empire, and not always in space. Those modules can include economy, technology, espionage, military (which may have both a strategic and tactical sub module and if it has a tactical sub module that module is often divided into space and ground combat), and diplomacy. The genre has a long history of single player only presentation, multi-player support often added as an after thought - well, honestly who can get their buddies to sit around for literally hours and hours and hours to play a game. The other aspects of the game are common to all games - the User Interface (UI), the Artificial Intelligence (AI or Non Human Opponents), graphical and sound design.

Funny thing is I should just stop reading reviews, as they completely fail to present me with enough meaningful information on these games. I've looked over some reviews, and I now know that the AI may or may not be competent and that the tech tree is deep.

Yes, they have left a bit out. The reviews never cover all of it. And rarely cover the bits I am most often disappointed with once there.

Unfortunately, I find myself at odds with most fans of the genre. Of course, having had several cracks at putting together a design for just such a game, I have some fairly solidified ideas about what I'm looking for.

Lately I've been thinking that a return to the sensibilities of play by email empire games might be the way to go. I vaguely remember a discussion about something called a 'Pit Boss' mode for Civilization 4. I see a download for an application from the Firaxis Web, named such, but I need to do some research to see if it works the way I think it should.

Anyways, the deal is that I can't tell from the reviews if the parts of the genre that interest me are simulated well or at all. I know the thing has a combat model. I have no idea how it works. And being that combat is one of the primary parts of the genre (the exterminate part, usually) that leaves me neutral on reviews that don't bother to mention it. At least there's a demo.

I'll get back to you on it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back from Vacation


Should be restful recuperation. Is always me getting really bad flu or cold. At least I squeezed in some gaming. Of which I hasten to point out that my anual pile to acquire grows. It always happens as summer wraps up.

So now we have:
Battlefield 2142 (Demo is good for now, and I still have lots of maps I've hardly played on B2 and SpecFor)

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos (demo is out today, so this may come off or go up)

Warhamer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade (wasn't really impressed with the Tau in the demo, but it's the single player campaign I really want to see)

Supreme Commander (in on the closed beta - w00t - but it's multiplayer only. I like my rts off line)

Neverwinter Nights 2 (I'm mixed on this. WoW is really filling the RPG niche for me right now. And the gaming niche. And the not-sleeping-to-game niche)

My PSP kind of rocks. And kind of sucks. I have two anthologies of old arcade games now. And that's cool. But the darn thing is just a bit too wee for my giant hands.

I now have a close enough collection of Republic troops (I think). I'm going to start on rules soon. Or not. I've been printing G.E. (v7) stuff and it's starting to look really tempting to set up a game.

I have to admit though, I don't look forward to 12 hour sessions of gaming like I used to.