31 August 2009

Project Update - Fog of War

Good evening everyone,

I'm going to take a break from reading my shiny new Space Hulk rulebook to post the current status of the Fog of War game system. I'm really just in the concept phase at this point, so this will be a quick read. But hopefully it will generate a few emails, just like the last one.

In the old Epic 40k version, the missions were selected using an ordinary deck of playing cards. At this point I'm more interested in creating printable-and-cuttable custom cards for our 40k version, but the number of missions should still work. In Epic '97, the armies didn't have a fixed point scale - missions were scaled at "vanguard detachment +25% of army," "entire army," etc. Our version is going to have a set 2500-point scale, so we can fix the army sizes for each mission. Here's my initial idea:

Force Size
Patrol Only
Patrol Only
Secure Ground
Defend Ground
Stage for Attack

Things we need to decide before developing the scenarios:

1) Will the 2500-point army use the standard FOC, or are we going to use a variant system for Fog of War?
2) Will the patrol be 400 or 500 points? Will it use the old Combat Patrol composition rules, or will it be a legal 500-point army?
3) Is there too much overhead involved in planning a 3000-point Apocalypse game to make that a viable Ace option?

Right now my intent is that two players agreeing to a Fog of War session bring a 2500-point standard army (roughly dividable into a patrol, 1000, 1500, and 2000-point forces), along with 500 points of literally anything they want (a Force Org Chart-violating addition to their own army, an Apocalypse formation, 500 points from another Codex, a Super-Heavy, whatever). We'll try to playtest as many options as we can, but obviously we won't be able to predict everything.

27 August 2009

Epic 40,000: Omega Edition - the main rulebook

My revision of the 1997 Epic 40k rules is beginning to take shape. I thought it would be good for potential players of this system to know what they can expect.

On a production note - I'm creating the entire system using Google Docs. From there it will be exported as a PDF, which I will host freely online. There will be numerous diagrams and play examples throughout the book, for which I will probably use the Vassal Epic module. Other than that, there will be photos of my own models, terrain, and tables. As of this writing, I don't have anyone to do artwork, so the book is going to be pretty basic.

The main rulebook is going to cover everything needed to play a game - except for the army lists. In 1997 terms, the new rulebook is going to be a combination of the old Rulebook and Battles Book. So its contents:

  • Epic 40,000: Omega Edition rules
  • Demo/Training Scenarios (no army list required)
  • Play examples with diagrams for EVERY rule section
  • Scenario Special Rules
  • Scenarios
  • Fog of War (2nd Edition)
  • Tree/narrative campaign examples
  • Integrated game system campaign examples (40k/BFG/eE40k using Planetary Empires)
  • Painting weblinks
  • Terrain weblinks
  • Quick Reference Playsheet as last page (also available as separate download)

For those of you who have designed similar products in the past, or have simply used enough rulebooks on your own - what else am I missing?

24 August 2009

Cities of Death terrain - field test

This weekend I had the opportunity to play a quick Cities of Death game using some of the new terrain I've been working on. It was a 4x4 table made from the CNC Miniature Scenery Australia tiles, four of the classic GW corner ruins (which I really only finished as CoD test pieces, but they're good enough to stay in the mix), a standard Manufactorum, and a combination building built from all three CoD building types and the new Shrine of the Aquila. It's far from finished, but you can see how it's progressing in these pictures:
Belial and Squad Astrega assault the Orks,
while Tactical Squad Gesemon advances down the street

The corner ruins were a simple build. I cut the bases from 1/8" hardboard and white-glued the ruins to the base. Using a flea-market meat grinder and the GW website technique, I have a small box of sprue rubble. I added various bits to the rubble piles, such as old Skeleton Warriors, badly assembled and painted old Space Marines that received some fresh paint, and some old tank bits from, shall we say, eBay bargains.Made using a broken RTB01 marine painted as a Salamander with an exposed skull

A corner ruin with two skeletons

The left ruin has an ancient Crimson Fist
and a newer Howling Griffon, while the right ruin
features a skeleton and an unmarked yellow Rhino frame.

The next step will be to add rubble and wrecks to my larger buildings and get them painted. As side projects, I'm going to make three or four simple rubble piles, and a few city-painted bases of barricades, barrels, etc.

I also have an Imex Power Plant ready for assembly and painting. But I haven't decide whether I'm going to add it to the city, or give it a more generic paint scheme that can be used on multiple tables. Watch here for updates.

20 August 2009

Project Announcement - Epic 40,000: Omega Edition

Overall, I have always preferred the Epic 40,000 rules to Space Marine/Netepic and to Epic:Armageddon. Every year or so, this same debate is sparked on one of the forums (TacComs, Warseer, Dakka, etc.). Over the past few months I've read through these threads carefully, as well as numerous blogs and defunct resource pages. I know that I am not alone in thinking that Epic 40k is the superior system.

As such, I am announcing Epic 40,000: Omega Edition. This will be a standalone Epic ruleset based upon the 1997 edition.

My reasons for returning to this system:
  • Epic 40,000 was a complete product. It had a few officeial rules amendments and updates, but it did not suffer from "LINUXitis" the way NetEpic and Epic:Armageddon do (always being developed and updated, never a simple standalone product).
  • The previous two attempts to keep Epic 40,000 alive, the Battle Bible and Epic 41k, were both steps in this direction. This project would not be possible without their efforts, and I would absolutely love a little bit of help from those who worked on those documents.
  • Epic 40,000's simplicity make it an ideal intro game to the 40k universe, especially for younger players on a budget.
  • The Epic 40,000 rules are fundamentally sound (Battlefleet Gothic has the same core rules and has been loved ever since its release) and are the best representation of large-scale conflict possible within the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
  • Epic 40,000's army list system is optimal. Players can field every model created for the game, every unit in their collection, detachments based on their 40k armies, and wild units that would ordinarily never be seen. This is something the other Epic systems do NOT allow. In EA, there are only a handful of possible army builds. In SM2/TL/NE, there are a handful of "no-brainers" that appear in every army due to power level.
  • The Epic 40k army lists are NOT designed for tournaments. This is a great game system for friendly situations, but could never replace E:A at the tournament level.
  • The rule changes implemented throughout the Firepower/Magazine era should be supported, except those rejected by the old mailing group.
  • The Fate Card system is sound. It added a level of entertainment and balance to the game, and I will incorporate it into the new version.
  • The old army lists are generally good, but they do need slight changes/have units added to bring them in-line with current 40k codices. Orks need a slight power boost or a points reduction across the board, as they always played with a slight handicap.
  • The Fog of War was a great way to play games, which is why I'm creating a 40k version of it. It will be a major part of Epic 40k: Omega.

The rulebook is already being written, and I have electronic versions of all the old army lists and unit stats. This product won't take long to produce, outside of playtesting new scenarios and victory conditions. Any groups willing to beta-test this update to a fun and complete game system should contact me for more information.

18 August 2009

40k Play Aid: The Fog Of War

(Apologies for the late update... I was working very late on my CoD terrain last night.)

The Basement Gaming Bunker is announcing its first official publication - The Fog Of War. If anyone remembers the 1997 Epic 40,000 ruleset, you may remember the Battles Book contained a random mission generator by this name. For those who either haven't heard of it or need a refresher, this is what it generally was:

-Both players chose large armies.
-Terrain and objectives were placed as per a normal scenario.
-The random mission was chosen.

The missions were very broad in scope. For some, you could only use your Vanguard - which in Epic was your smallest standard detachment. Some used another 25% or 50% of your force, and some called for your entire army. Both players had different missions, so you could end up with something like:

Player A) One 200-point detachment, must survive four turns.
Player B) Full 2500-point army, must defend all objectives.

So occasionally the scenarios were a little lopsided, but the results were always entertaining.

For some time now, I've believed this system could be adapted to 40k, with missions ranging from a Combat Patrol to an Apocalypse force. Over the next two months, we're going to playtest various force restrictions and organizations, objective systems, victory conditions, special rules, and deployment options. The result will be the Basement Gaming Bunker's first free PDF download.

Anyone with interest in the project, contact me, or keep an eye on this space.

15 August 2009

City Tile Update and the Next Step

Last weekend, my girlfriend and I applied tinted Minwax Acrylic stain to the pained CNC Miniature Scenery's Urban Grounds tiles. The results are exactly what I wanted - something darker than the manufacturer's suggested paint scheme, but still having more color levels than Games Workshop's own city tables.

There are still some finishing touches needed, such as metal paint on the sewer grates and manholes, along with gluing some rubble and bones into the blast craters. But they are now ready to be used for a game.

The next project is to assemble enough buildings for a Gamma-level fight. I don't need Omega-level buildings until the rest of the CNC tiles are painted and stained. This seems to be the best approach - I spent two days assembling the City Grounds and Urban Grounds kits, and was immediately overwhelmed with how many there were. Doing them in small chunks makes the project very manageable. So I'm going to try the same approach with my Imperial City boxed set - build just a few buildings at a time rather than using every sprue and bit in the box.

I also want to pick up one more item - a Shrine of the Aquila. Initially I was very unimpressed with this building - it was tall, thin, and lacked detail compared to the existing Cities of Death sets. And like most internet gamers, I immediately complained in the forums. I still think standalone, the kit is fairly unimpressive.

But I saw something this week on GW's site that has completely changed my opinion. It is the cover image for the Focus on 40K Terrain article:


It uses the Shrine along with Basilica and Sanctum components to make a building that I can only describe as "solid awesome." I intend to build something almost identical to this and use it as the centerpiece in my City of Death.

03 August 2009

Miniature Scenery CNC Urban/Battle Ground tiles

A few months back, I ordered both the City Ground and Battle Ground series of modular tiles from CNC Miniature Scenery (Australia). I assembled and primed the tiles over the course of a few weeks, but abandoned them in favor of more work on my Executioners and Arbites. Assembly was very straightforward - took me three evenings to finish both packs, using nothing more than my hobby clippers, a sanding sponge, and some Elmer's glue.

My initial review of the tiles is extremely high - I am VERY impressed by their construction, assembly, instructions, and quality. I've assembled the tiles into many demo setups, and haven't had a problem yet with fit or finish. But, as I said, other projects took over, and the assembled-and-primed tiles sat in the basement for months.

The last few weeks, after my 2-year-old daughter's bedtime, I was able to get around to painting. I stay pretty cheap when it comes to terrain - all the paint is the cheap craft-store brand Folk Art, the brushes and mini-roller were from Dollar Tree, and the texture was some old Red Devil paint additive I had in the basement. Even with these cheap supplies, I was impressed at the overall results. My girlfriend Casey pitched in with some touch-up painting the past few nights, and here is a sample of our results.

In total I have 26 tiles painted. The tiles are a little over 9"x9" each, so 25 will make an Alpha- or Gamma-level Cityfight board. Ten are blank tiles for buildings/ruins, one is a decorative "courtyard" tile (I checkered it just for fun), and the rest are a variety of road sections. The final stage before play is going to be the application of Minwax acrylic stain, to properly "dull" their overall appearance (similar to the "dip" technique found on numerous other blogs). I'll post updated pics after the stain is applied.