Sunday, February 19, 2023

Traveller - RAFM Figures, p1

The Citizens are looking pretty '70s in my opinion...!
But they still look "Mahvalous"!

While I do have a bunch - about 150[!] classic sculpts from that era, they are all military and I needed some characters for Traveller - quick!  As the 15mm Citadel Traveller sculpts are some of my favorites, it didn't take long for me to visit Stuff of Legends and also ask around in various forums.  Turned out that RAFM is still making those sculpts, by the Perry Bros. no less.  I did confirm that BTW, and sent an email to their webpage - to my surprise, I got a polite reply confirming this from one of the bros.  Having a bunch, I figured their characters would also be very nice - but it was a bit hard to tell from some of the pics / paint jobs at RAFM.  So I got more info from Stuff of Legends here [CLICK].

The useful thing is that the names of the figs show the intent of the sculptor / manufacturer which gives some more information on the Traveller universe.  So for convenience, here's is some of the SOL info below, arranged to make it easier to cross-reference with the large image.

Pic below:
1 Adventuress in Vacc Suit
2 Adventurer in Vacc Suit with Repair Gear
3 Adventurer in Vacc Suit with Snub Pistol
4 Adventurer in Vacc Suit with Accelerator Rifle
5 Adventurer in Casual Wear with Advanced Combat Rifle

6 Adventurer in Casual Wear with Auto Pistol
7 Adventuress in Casual Wear with Carbine
8 Adventurer in Casual Wear with RAM Grenade Launcher
9 Adventurer in Ship Dress with Hand Computer
10 Adventuress in Ship Dress with Snub Pistol
11 Adventurer in Ship Dress with Snub Pistol
12 Adventurer in Survival Dress with Advanced Combat Rifle
13 Adventurer in Survival Dress with Auto Pistol
14 Adventuress in Survival Dress with Assault Rifle
15 Utility Droid with Work Arms

16 Social Droid (Steward/Library Functions)
17 Down and out Adventurer with Dagger and Body Pistol
18 Down and out Adventurer with Carbine
19 Down and out Adventurer with Auto Pistol
20 Barbarian Adventurer with Cutlass

Pic below:
1 Bridge Officer in Dress Uniform with Hand Computer
2 Bridge Officer in Duty Dress with Snub Pistol
3 Female Bridge Officer in Duty Dress at Ease
4 Merchant Master with Snub Pistol
5 Chief Engineer in Duty Dress with Hand Computer

6 Engineering Crewman in Duty Dress with Tool Set
7 Engineering Crewman in Duty Dress with Snub Pistol
8 Crewman in Duty Dress with Tool Set
9 Crewman in Duty Dress with Hand Recorder
10 Crewman in Duty Dress with Snub Pistol

11 Crewman in Duty Dress with Cutlass
12 Medic in Duty Dress with Analyser
13 Marine in Battle Dress with Accelerator Rifle
14 Marine in Battle Dress with RAM Grenade Launcher
15 Marine in Battle Dress at Ease

16 Marine in Combat Armour with Snub Pistol
17 Ship's Boat Pilot at Ease
18 Crewman in Vacc Suit with Tool Set
19 Crewwoman in Vacc Suit with Snub Pistol
20 Crewman in Vacc Suit with Snub Pistol

Pic Below:
1 Uniformed Official with Communicator
2 Uniformed Official with Auto Pistol
3 Uniformed Official with SubMachine Gun
4 Nobleman with Foil
5 Lady in Evening Wear

6 Merchant of Substance with Snub Pistol
7 Young Lady of Good Repute with Dagger
8 Male Citizen with Blade
9 Female Citizen with Auto Pistol
10 Businessman with Hand Computer

11 Receptionist with Communicator
12 Colonist with Assault Rifle
13 Female Colonist with Body Pistol
14 Con Artist with Suitcase
15 Thug/Bouncer with Auto Pistol

16 Thug/Bouncer with Shotgun
17 Assassin with Grav Belt and Snub Pistol
18 Beggar/Thief with Dagger
19 Security Robot with User Arm
20 Android Female Companion

Ordering was a pleasure and altho there was some back and forth with my request to have RAFM rebuild the original packs of 40, Brock was patient and enduring and even allowed me a sale discount altho I reached out a day late, officially.  That's great customer service!

So, here they are in the [metal] flesh!
Size = 13mm to 17mm from foot to eyes, depending on model [women may be a bit smaller, marines and big guys a bit larger].  
The average fig is 15mm foot to eye.

RAFM set "Guerillas" [CLICK]
NOTE: I didn't get the fourth guy from the left pictured at RAFM - I got a duplicate of 6 from left instead.  C'est la vie.

One can easily see that the sculpting has a lot of depth and will paint up easily with several techniques, including dry brushing or the "miracle dip" or other shading.

RAFM Set "Space Pirates" [CLICK]

RAFM set "Crewmen" [CLICK]

RAFM set "Support Staff" [CLICK] is a buncha odds and ends, but a very useful pack for encounters of the 3rd Kind!  Below, the first two on left are Droyne - one with a knife and the other looking at a widget [probly]. The next two are Vargr wolf-humanoids, one with a medical bag and the next with a pistol. Then there are three Aslans [Aslanni?] with a sword, a staff and a motivating gesture - fist in the air - respectively.

Below is a librarian droid [C3P0 type] and two utility droids with service arms.

Finally, there were two men in militia / crew caps, left with pistol, right with a widget.

RAFM set "Planetary Militia" [CLICK
Lost the images in the raw metal, but here they are primed grey.
Above: Left is "Uniformed Official with SMG", center is "Adventurer with RAM grenade launcher", to right is "Adventurer in Survival Dress with ACR [Advanced Combat Rifle]".
Below, #6 "Chief engineer with hand computer" to left, "Engineering crewmen with tools" [tool bag] to right.

RAFM set "Padded Armor Troops" [CLICK]
These are people in "space suits" which in Traveller terms includes the vacuum protection and the benefits of cloth armor. In the original release, they were Naval Landing Party I think. The present pack comes with five guys with a small carbine looking gun...

...and the below, which are two with tools [a small guy to left, could be female] an obviously female in suit [obvious breasts...not obvious in photo...and smaller, slender stature] and two men with pistols.  Overall, a very useful set for adventurers as they will regularly need these suits, whether for outer space, space ships with risk of vacuum, or hostile environments on planetary landings and other exotic places.  Quite recommended!

RAFM set "Infantry Set #3" [CLICK] These fellows are actually marines.  I got 6 of the fellow on the left [Marine with Accelerator Rifle], 2 of the fellow on the right [Marine with RAM Grenade Launcher], and one each of the two in center [At Ease and Snub Pistol].  this made for a nice little force of two fire teams and two leaders.  They cleaned up nicely and have interesting helmets which will set them apart from a standard space suit.

RAFM set "Space Vixens" [CLICK] came with 10 females [there are a couple in the other sets, noted above] but basically this was just a way to sell most of the females in one set. 
The four above left, are all in various garb, none particularly "spacey" or exotic, with weapons. The two to left look like adventurers in practical clothing with a pistol and a shotgun. The next two may be some type of crew, and could paint up as sci-fi clothes. The two on right are most likely an exotic dancer [Andoid Femail Companion] and a women in an evening gown [Lady in Evening Wear], no weapons except their looks!

Below, the first on left has the militia / crew cap and the second is standing 'at ease' and is a ships crew / officer.  The two on right are obviously in space suits with weapons.

and here they are primed:

Have to say, very pleased with these, lots of character for such small folks.  While it is completely out of fashion to have 15mm sci-fi for an RPG, Traveller was on to something when they chose this scale - large enough for nice details to paint, but small enough that the vics are affordable and fit on the table...and who doesn't want to have some cool space trucks and tanks and flyers around?  Gadgets are part of the future, too!

There is more to come, so stay tuned for Part 2, which will include some vics and a buncha Soldiers.

Below are the figures primed - some grey, some white.  Often, it really helps you to see the details and the lovely sculpting.  Lots of good personalities, poses, and originality - some of the pics look like 28mm, frankly!  How did they get all that detail into 15mm...? 

These are mounted for the painting work, so they have been a bit rearranged from the packs, which is why the pics are grouped together.  I didn't want to confuse purchasers as to what was in which pack from the present RAFM line!

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Traveller - A Bold Old Frontier

Time to get Travellin'!

For about 40 years, I've had the three books of the Striker Rules and Traveller Book 4 Mercenary laying around. I've always wanted to do something with them, but finally, in a motivating drive of nostalgia I pushed to get fully into Traveller 1st Edition as a combination nostalgia project and full-spectrum game project.

Nostalgia Project
Well, what is there to say except that I never did any Traveller, but I was curious about getting into the game as a visit to 1980s, which is my 7-12 grade years. I figured the style and mechanics may be a bit dated, but wanted to check it out.

My first big break was discovering that Traveller is alive and well on Facebook, with a busy forum full of helpful people.  I was pointed towards Drive-Thru RPG and there I discovered that Marc Miller, the original designer, still has control of his IP and makes all of it available in all the editions, including 1st edition!  Most of the books go for $5 pdfs, but I got books 1-3 in the Black and White edition ...
with errata and addendum...
... for $8 as a pdf AND hard copy, then paid a few bucks to have it shipped; it quickly arrived  in the white book above left.  This gave me an easy intro to the game system at low cost.

Reading the rules wasn't too difficult - the style and layout is a bit old-fashioned, but hey, I'm used to that!  I quickly realized that for an experienced gamer, even the first edition is a treasure-trove of great mechanics and useful stuff!  Books 1-3 have everything you need to create your own adventures in space, from characters, to combat, to space ships [and the *economy* of space ships] to space fights to world building. Many of the mechanics are tried and true and old enough at 40 years that they are pretty much new again!  Books 1-3 come with engaging and interesting mechanics for everything, and the combat and space combat rules are solid.  More on this in the future. But basically, with these rules, you could play almost any skirmish game period you want.

Full-Spectrum Game Project
Looking to get even more into the mood, I went to the Traveller Wiki [CLICK] for sci-fi novel inspiration in the Recommended Reading section [CLICK].  A raid of the local county library index found some of the old classics they recommended. I read three of them as I continued my quest to 'get into the game'.

Next, I started looking for more of the LBBs [Little Black Books] which flesh out the Character "classes" which are really branches of Service: Merchant Marine, Scouts, Navy, Marines, Army, Other [ne-er do-wells and Jacks of All Trades]. They also provide supplements for various systems, adventures, and resources to run games [everything from forms to pre-gen characters, etc].  I managed to find some on-line stores with large collections they wanted to move.  As I didn't want just one book, I bargained for some great deals!

One vendor also had several boxed board games, so I got some of them with a load of LBBs for a very nice price:
The combine the Grand Strategic, Strategic, Operational, Grand Tactical and Tactical levels in one way or another.  So this is a:


Armed with these tools, I realized that I had what was quite unusual: 
- an RPG with a great set of skirmish rules
- a great set of ship combat rules, expanded in Book 5 to squadron combat,
- a universe to fight in, 
- crazy good amounts of hard-science fluff and novels
- several directly related board games
- a set of miniature combat rules I already owned [Striker - Frank Chadwick's precursor to several board game systems and his Command Decision WWII miniature rules],
- a bunch of original 15mm Ral Partha, Martian Metal, and RAFM miniatures,
- Amazing possibilities for different games with different people and clubs, including the RPG, Miniatures, and Board Game scenes.

The gaming potential is mind-blowing!  I may never be stuck without a choice of opponents ever again, and the games are just fine for solo play.

In 41 years of gaming, I've never yet successfully merged character, land battles, and naval battles, but it is finally going to happen...Time to get Travellin'!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

GEV: Ceasefire Collapse

"GEV" in My Sights...
copyright Steve Jackson Games

Final playtest to get in the swing of GEV with the RAW - had to be the classic "Ceasefire Collapse" scenario. 

Forces are equal. Each side gets VPs for destroying the opposing two intact town hexes, the two CPs, and controlling the map [last man standing].Combine sets up in the zig-zag road pattern marked by craters to the right. Paneuro sets up on the straight road to the left, also marked by craters. 

I thought about it a bit, and the only deployment that made sense was to concentrate near the intact town hexes for each side, and put the Command Posts behind them. Having them spread out would spread out the defense and allow the attacker to hit them piecemeal.

For the Paneuros, I went with a large number of Lt Tanks backed up by Mobile Howitzer, and some GEVs as a mobile reserve.  The deployment area is very shallow, but it'll be easy to gain some depth.  The two town hexes are at the top, buried under units, and behind that are the two CPs, Alpha and Beta.

For the Combine, I put one CP across the water and behind a ruined city, the other on the bridge side [it has one MP]. Protecting them is a force of Infantry and GEVs, both of which can cross the river. But attacks on the CPs will be limited. I don't remember why I didn't put both CPs behind the city - it's definitely the best place for them.
Combine central force - Infantry, Missile Tanks, Hvy Tanks, a few Lt Tanks to protect flanks.

Turn 1, both sides move within striking distance. The hard thing to remember is that you want the opponent to close to within your threat distance [TD] so you can hit him first. The makes it a bit tougher to plan an attack because it is in essence backwards from how we fight now and in the last 100 years or so. So you always have to think one turn ahead to the opponent's counter-attack.
In the South, Paneuro GEVs are positioned to send a force across either stream, while Combine has a portion ready to cross and a portion set to support the left flank of the attack.

Turn 2 end with the main line of resistance thinned out a bit. The MHWZ of each side have been played carefully to avoid a strike from the other, which they won't survive. They've accounted for a few units here and there.
Combine GEV force has made itself into a potent threat in the south. I prioritized picking off Paneuro GEVs looking to gain an edge somewhere.

Losses at Turn 2: 4-6 favoring Paneuro.

Turn 3, Paneuro is able to advance and continue to engage the Combine effectively. Sending a couple light tanks around the North end was a waste of combat power, but Paneuro Infantry have been very useful in the central woods fight.
Combine is strong in the south, however, but I think the Paneuro Infantry and GEVs should be effective in holding them off. We'll see... There's a lot of combat power poised to hit the town.

A decisive strike by Combine results in significant Paneuro losses. One mistake - a lone team of Combine infantry slipped through the Paneuro lines and struck at their MHWZ - rolling the needed '6' means it is dead! Paneuro is in deep trouble now. Bad error on my part...
Paneuro is still pushing down the center with their infantry, but their right flank has completely crumbled and CP Alpha is under attack. Fortunately, it has a good Defense of 3. The loss of the MHWZ is going to be felt as it could have picked off attacking GEVs easily...

Paneuro strikes back, however, and rolling hot takes out the Combine MHWZ!

Over the next turn, the Combine GEVs manage to winkle their way into the Panuero defenses, while using their own reinforcing infantry to counter advancing Paneuros in the center attack. It is down to the wire and the Paneuros must [IMHO] attempt to destroy at least one CP as they probably can't save Alpha, and Bravo is in doubt...meanwhile, the lone Combine GEV at top left has destroyed one of the two intact town hexes - it is adjacent to the second one, and will attempt to destroy it ASAP before attacking Bravo. Tall order for one Lone GEV!
Meanwhile, at bottom left, the Combine have three GEVs attacking CP Alpha, but with D3 it is a tough nut to crack. The remaining Combine defenders must try to hold off the advancing Paneuro Lt Tanks and Infantry squads.

GEV destroys town hex in nick of time and shifts left to destroy Alpha. Paneuro 2-1 Infantry squads are chasing it.
Meanwhile, the GEVs destroy Alpha with a little help from a Lt. Tank.

On the Combine defense, attacks are made against Beta with no luck.
Combine Infantry squad and GEV race to the rescue!

Situation on turn 6 or so: Lone GEV is harassing CP BETA, chased by Paneuro Infantry at top left. He has one last shot at the CP, perhaps, before the Infantry are too close.
At other end of pic, the attack on Combine CP Beta intensifies.  Combine GEVs are racing to the scene! One bold Infantry squad is flying and jumping through the air!

Too late!  CP Beta is destroyed. However, Combine GEV's destroyed both a Lt Tank and the Infantry. The remaining Lt. Tank is basically toast...

Amazingly, The Lone GEV rolls a '6' and destroys CP Beta, before attempting an escape off into the sunset! Who is that masked GEV???
...we'll never know - the Infantry manage to destroy the masked marauder before he can escape.

Given the Combine forces below, it is clear that the remaining Paneuro Infantry will have to retreat off the board [there is no time limit to the scenario] as the GEVs will undoubtedly destroy them.
Combine survive with 4+ 1/3 Units and their Alpha CP, both undamaged town hexes.
Paneuro survive with 1+1/3 Units and no CP or town hexes.

Victory Points:
Combine: 199 pts
15 Points for two town hexes destroyed, 45 for the two CPs destroyed. 
15 pts for controlling the field.
96 points of Armor destroyed, 28 points of Infantry destroyed.

Paneuro: 121 pts
15 points for destroying CP Beta
72 points of Armor destroyed, 34 points of Infantry destroyed

Calling this a decisive Combine win due to holding the field and having a CP intact, in addition to winning by a 1.64 to 1 ratio.

I think that the Combine managed to pull out a win thanks to their effort in the south, which panned out big time. Their attack in the center quickly stalled and became a fight of attrition to pin as many Paneuro units in the center fight while they won on the left. I feel like I played the Combine a little better than the Paneuros.

Interestingly, the different forces didn't seem to make much difference - the Paneuro did manage to edge out the Combine center and survive with some infantry and Lt Tanks. There is a small benefit to having two light tanks as targets compared to only one Heavy, but they are also D2 instead of D3 which usually means a 1-1 attack instead of the 1-2 that all but Missile Tanks have against a heavy.

As a scenario, I feel that all the Paneuro town hexes should be intact [along with an equal number of Combine town hexes] and they should be worth 5 VP each. This forces both sides to spread out more. This may favor GEVs and their hit-and-run style of fighting, however.

I wonder what would happen if either side had one more MHWZ?  Would give them an edge, I think, which is why I had one per side.

Anyway, I may play one more time, or switch to playtesting my alternative Turn sequence.