Thursday, September 10

Bio-Dome Gruntz After Action Report

Have a look at this excellent blog after action report for the "Yellow Rose of Messier".  Details on the Crapid fire web site. I really like the creative use of biodomes that are both cool looking and also part of the scenario. Excellent stuff and well worth the time for a read about the action.

Tuesday, May 5

Youtube Tidy Up

I have been sorting out 5 years worth of youtube videos that are starting to get hard to navigate. Some our now in playlists and I have updated content to group them better and make it more accessible.

Over the coming weeks I will be dragging out old content and trying to knock the content into better shape.

Here is a playlist for some airbrushing technique I put together in 2010.  Below that is are a set of more recent (this last weekend) videos focused on Infinity the Game for PanOceania, also about airbrushing and masking.

Wednesday, January 21

New ACPGames Drop Ship

I received a fantastic package from ACPGames this last week. They have an interesting new Dropship for 15mm which has very nice styling and a large cargo / troop / vehicle hold underneath.

The ship is going to be part of a Kickstarter they are launching soon and if you follow this link you can see a very short video of the model

Monday, January 5

2015 First dice rolling of the year!

I had a fun game this Saturday with Jonathan Rogers and Simon Moules.  Had to get the gas heater on in the garage because of the cold but we managed to stay warm enough to roll dice and push models around. The Pizza break also helped with the cold. 

The Gruntz 15mm SCI-FI game was played on my small 3x3ft terrain table which I normally take to shows as a demo table. If we are not using many vehicles it is a good size, however for a larger game I prefer the 6x4ft size to give armour and grav skimmer type vehicles more room for manoeuvre. 

I had my older East Hyadum Trade forces (Futuristic East India Company troops) and Jon had his mostly Khuransan miniatures Neo-Sov force. 

On around turn 3 I appeared to have the advantage but lost my APC after I had loaded it with my droid unit. It suffered a catastrophic engine failure when destroyed and the Droids perished with it. At that point I resorted to mostly just pounding Jon's NeoSov forces with my mortar from a distance and indirectly. It was a bloody game and I think ultimately that the East Hydadum forces held the ground before the NeoSov's withdrew.  I was successful in holding up his main powered armour unit by suppressing them each round which really slowed their progress. 

Here we are setting up with Jon checking his mobile.

These did not come into play but Jon wanted to show his work in progress on his Grav Skimmers from Antenocitis workshop. He has made various kit bash modifications to the turrets. 

This is my East Hyadum Trade force.  A High Energy Laser specialist, a Mortar an a mix of Gruntz squads all from Ground Zero Games (GZG.COM)

Jon's nearly finished Neo-Sov troops and walker (GZG Crustie Walker).

The full 3x3ft layout aerial view.  Having the stack like hills in place gives even a small board plenty of places for tactical movement. 

An early move got these troops into cover. 

This is a GZG APC which I have modified with a plasma turret and a couple of extra bits.

You can see for speed of play I had 

I wrote Gruntz but I still need to check the rule book! I was reminding myself that a rear shot on my APC was going to get a +2 damage on the damage roll in the rear arc. 

Water vaper blown over the board to give it a smoke filled look for the photo.  Jons Khurasan Power armour troops are modified by using a robotic style head. 

In the distance you can see my shielded Spider droids held the line with their force shields in position. 

One of the Spider Droids shields has been over powered. 

Making use of the shielding provided by the Droids giving the troops an added screen. 

My GZG skimmer grav bikes were able to put pressure on troops quickly with their fast movement but they were a little fragile and were soon wiped out. 

Cards placed for Card activation using the Gruntz activation cards which can be bought on Wargames Vault It added a chaotic feel with random activation of units between players. 

Shields Up! 

Robotic assets. 

Activation cards on the dropship launch pad.

Tuesday, December 30

Meeples and Miniatures Gruntz Podcast.

You can listen to me waffle on about Gruntz with Mike and Neil on the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast.  Click the link to subscribe or download the episode where I talk about the rules and answer questions. 

Please also note that Gruntz in in the December winter sale on the Wargames Vault, so an ideal time to grab a bargain copy of the rules from the site here:

Friday, October 10

The New Activation Cards

Here I am introducing how the new activation cards for Gruntz work.

They are available on the Wargames Vault as a print on demand product. They print and ship the cards once ordered. They are in the mini-board game format which makes them handy for the smaller scale 15mm wargame.

Avatar Dropship

A quick video overview of a Deep Space Shuttlecraft from Fantastic Plastic (from the Avatar Movie).  Details on the youtube video.  It is 1/300 scale (Epic / Battletech), however I think it would work fine for 15mm as a drop ship because it is simply massive.

Zuzzy Layout

Harold from Clear Horizon has painted up a Zuzzy mat for Gruntz and I think it looks excellent. Very handy to be able to deploy a quick layout and drop on terrain with a good looking base mat. 

A quick photo of the layout here showing some drop on terrain items. 

Friday, August 29

New Activation Cards now on the Wargames Vault.

I am pleased to announce that the Wargames Vault now have the print on demand activation cards for Gruntz 15mm in stock.  They allow you to add a more dynamic turn sequence to the game, with various bonus results on certain cards.  It is a 63 card deck in the American small boardgame mini card format.

For details have a look at the Wargames Vault web site page here. 

Tuesday, April 29

Activation Cards

At many of the show games for Gruntz I have been playing with the activation cards. They add a dynamic feel to the game with less of the I-GO-U-GO feel. They also allow for games with more than 2 players because the activation sequence is determined randomly by assigning cards, so players feel like they are involved rather than waiting their turn.

To support this play style I have been developing a dedicated deck of 62 cards for Gruntz. They are a smaller half poker card size, so ideal for the 15mm scale where you don't want to ruin the table by having a larger poker deck strewn across your terrain layout.

Here is a sample of the draft card back and a couple of the card fronts.  There are around 20 of the 62 cards that have some sort of special result for the unit which adds a bit more chaos to the battlefield. These abilities could be ignored if you just want to use the cards to determine activation sequence.

Using these rules result in a card being assigned face down to each unit on the table (or vehicle) and when they are turned face up you can determine which unit activates by the number on the card. The highest number activates first and then you work back down to the lowest.

They are heading off now for printing a draft proof set of cards and should be available to order in the next 6-8 weeks (once any final layout and rule tweaks are adjusted).

Monday, April 14

Gruntz 15mm and GZG booth at Salute 2014

A busy day at Salute for Gruntz.  A couple of fun games played and here are details of the GZG stand including the 15mm SCI-FI items and miniatures for Full Thrust.

Wednesday, February 26

Stoke Rochford Hall - Gruntz and Aeronef

This last weekend was a full immersion Gruntz 15mm event at a fantastic British country pile called Stoke Rochford Hall.  There was a mix of Aeronef games (Victorian SCI-FI lighter than airships) and 15mm SCI-FI with the Gruntz rules.

I had some great feedback from players and a very relaxed game.  Rather than a typical show, where I hardly get time to take a breath, it was instead a calm environment where we were able to focus on the game undisturbed.

Brigade Models were at the event with a small trade stand, so it was very difficult to avoid spending money on new models!   Brigade have some great new 15mm vehicles and also an extensive growing line of 2mm terrain for their Aeronef and Land Ironclad games.

With regard to the  Gruntz  game we used the card activation which is perfect for larger groups when you have 4+ players around the table.  Players activated Squads and vehicles based on the card rank and any units assigned aces drawn (face down) are given a boon which is a small bonus to shooting, guard or speed depending on the suit of the card. Any jokers randomly assigned to a unit is bad luck because they will be activating last with a negative to most skill tests on their activation. This represents a breakdown in communication or minor mechanical failure which disrupts them.

For Gruntz I used some pre-prepared profile cards that helped with referencing the models.  Here is a sample set which I printed onto credit card plastic.  Being printed on plastic allows you to use a wipe board felt pen to mark damage and then wipe it off for re-use again after the game.  I am looking at producing a set soon and will be confirming details on what models and army lists to produce.  A nice feature of Gruntz is the flexibility to build your own vehicles, however there are certainly players that would appreciate some pre-made cards making it very quick to get in a game.

Here are a couple of photos of the plastic cards:

One key item of feedback from the players was the need for guidance in creating profile cards.  Several of the players used Skill4 and Shoot4 for vehicles and squads. This is a good base statistic, however a 5 in shoot is makes for a slightly quicker game because you are going to hit more often.  It really depends on how you want to play the game, however Skill5 and Shoot5 is about the optimum level for a fun game.  I personally like to mix it up by having the odd Skill4 and Shoot6 Gruntz squads mixed in as green or elite troops respectively.  If I had some civilian or basic untrained models on the table that were using pistols or basic weapons I may give them a Shoot3. They won't stand much chance against a well armoured and trained target but they might get away with a lucky hit or two, especially if they concentrate fire on one single target.  

It really depends on how you want to play but my key advice would be to avoid too many units on 4 or less and equally don't field a dozen squads at shoot6 because they at the veteran end.  However it does balance out because you will be able to field more units at the lower points cost for the Shoot score.  If in doubt pick Shoot5 and Skill5, especially for your first few games to get a good feel for a fun game!

Here are a couple of photos of the Stoke Rochford Hall. At night these railings looked spooky with that classic Hammer House of horror feel to them.  It was a great place to stay and ideal setting for the Victorian SCI-FI game Aeronef that was played along with Gruntz.

The Gruntz game on day1 of the event was a classic invasion and destroy the bridge on resource rich planet.  The bridge was spanning a river that was only flood once a year in a rare rainy season.  An alien lizard race (The Garn) were attempting to place demolition charges on the bridge.

The Garn from Khurasan are a race that use shielding tek rather than heavy armour and the personal shields perk was given to them to provide the extra amour soak.  It made them very tough as a Gruntz squad but not tough enough to survive an accidental "Snake Eyes" failure roll when placing on the demolition charges which ripped through he squad leaving only a couple left alive with their shields.

Here the Garn are trying to lay the demo-charges on the bridge supports.  Unfortunately the Drop Pod (from Clear Horizon) deviated away from the drop zone and landed on the centre of the bridge. They were then able to dish out some damage to the surrounding EHTC forces but were not in a good position to lay demo-charges which were needed on the supports below. You can see the drop pod on the bridge and the small amount of Garn that did drop in at the right place on the dry riverbed.

The defenders were mostly GZG models representing the East Hyadum Trade Company EHTC). The EHTC are like the early East India trade company, a British interest with a private army spanning several systems. I used GZG "NAC" troops painted in the traditional red colours and combined them with a mix of hi-mobility wheeled vehicles from GZG.

The Garn never managed to finish the job but they did disable the secondary objective of knocking out a power distribution centre. The building rules were used from Gruntz to provide a damage factor for the destruction of the objectives.   So a partial victory for the defenders who did a sterling job of keeping the Garn at bay.

It was a great event and now I have just one Month to go before the big Salute convention on the 12th April.  This is a single day event where I will have a couple of Gruntz terrain layouts for people to have a go on and people are welcome to bring forces of their own with pre-made profile cards.

Here are some further photos from the Stoke Rochford weekend.

Tuesday, December 17

Full Thrust New Anglian vs Federal Stats Europa (British Vs French).

I had a fun game of Full Thrust from GZG at the local club on Friday.  I am still amazed at how satisfying it is to play Full Thrust, after many years my old fleet still feels fresh to play and involves some in depth tactical play. Sadly my great tactical ineptitude kicked in and I moved my missile firing vessels in far to closely which, presenting big easy targets for the NAC.  I had the FSE (Federal Stats Europa) fleet with some additional models from Zandris IV and Ninja Magic.  I simply did not have enough in FSE models to be able to match Steve's "New Anglian Confederation" (NAC) fleet so I had to drag out some additional models from my collection.  

For those interested, the game Gruntz was influenced by Full Thrust and the damage tracks and critical process was an inspiration for how I built the damage system in Gruntz. 

On my left flank I sent in a group of four Sub-Munition pack Hydra Class Destroyers which I had stated up as larger ships than the model would normally dictate. This was not really fair on Steve because he thought they were smaller vessels than I was representing with the small models. However I had limited models to use so they were the only thing close to size I could use.  It is worth discussing sizes with your opponent to avoid a surprise when a tiny approaching ship is actually supposed to be a carrier! 

Here is the Hydra class (represented by the small green group of 4 ships on the top left of the above photo).  Image from the web site where I pull most of my stats from for the game.  I drop them into a doc and print them. 

You can see the three submunition packs on the ship design (circle with black filled triangle on top). They are powerful one use only weapons, best used at a range of under 6" for the most devastating close range damage.  After using the one shot submunition packs,  the ships then fall back to using just beam weapons which are the circles with a two Class1 and one Class2 in the front arc only. Class1 beam weapons are the weakest with a range limit of 12". Class2 have 24" range. 

Early game my main FSE fleet splits. The moon and planet models provide a block to line of sight and I decide to split my forces. This is a mistake in the end round or two because I simply can't bring them to bear against the NAC fleet because they are too far from the main battle. 

Zandris IV models in the foreground. GZG FSE fleet (old style) in the background. 

Ninja Magic ships. This model in the foreground was my main flagship for my fleet. You can see the small fighter launch bay along the edge of the ship.  I used the following Littorio Class Battledreadnought statistic card to represent it. You can see the single triangle which represents one flight of onboard fighters which I can launch.  The image in the top centre are two missile launchers and the attached magazine of single use missiles.  The FSE fleet is very missile heavy, tending to be lighter armoured than the British New Anglian Confederation and better at longer range with missile launchers. Something I forgot for this game and got in too close! 

Steve's New Anglian Confed (NAC) fleet. These are from the earlier sculpt range from GZG. 

I used the yellow counters to note when a ship had fired each round. 

You can see my Lego Planet in use next to a sphere. These stone spheres are from a crystal shop on the Isle of Wight. The polished stone looks very moon like and you will find many of these stone orbs available on new age crystal web sites or ebay. These ones only cost me about £3 each and make easy drop on terrain. 

My single fighter group is launched from my main dreadnought. Fighters can move 12" a turn in any direction. 

Close up on my older FSE fleet. 

FSE heavies again. These earlier models from GZG tend to be smaller than the more recent re-sculpts on the GZG site. I must admit the newer ships do look nicer and I need to start investing in some of the new models again.