Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Paint Log VIII: A lot completed

So, I've actually gotten a fair amount of models done lately, I've just been a bit bad at posting them, so here follows a quick recap of my productive output for May and June:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

El-Shami Wip

Some Work In Progress of my El-Shami Leviathan that I've been working on (albeit a bit slower than I'd like), more pictures after the jump:

Friday, June 19, 2015

[Review] Underground Lasers Planetfall accessories

A quick review of UGLs Planetfall tokens and Zero Hour Tracker, both acrylic.

I've been looking at adding to my collection of Planetfall tokens for a while now, I have a set of the tokens that Spartan provided as part of the Platinium package for preordering Proteus Prime, but the number of Activated markers in that set is a bit limited. Enter Underground Lasers, with a full set of tokens, both for Armada and Planetfall.

Shipping and packaging both gets A remarks, it took half an hour from placing my order until it was shipped (!!!), and everything was neatly shrink wrapped, in a few cases with multiple layers.
I'd originally grown used to paying $25 shipping for my order, but thanks to a refund I ended up paying $15, I suspect it might be due to ordering only acrylics, which weights less than MDF.

Comparing them to Spartans own tokens, they are about the same size, but with much larger symbols and actual text describing the token, making readability easier. For these, I'm not even sure it would be neccssary to tint the engraving (which is a must for the delicate engraving on the Spartan tokens, I've even seen examples with painted symbols).
UGLs tokens are the blue ones in the picture above.

I'd give them a solid 4 out of 5, a decent set with good usability.

Zero Hour Tracker:
One of the unusual concepts in Planetfall is the Zero Hour Tracker, where you count down Tactical Value points from your starting army points divided by 100.
However, the cardboard version of the counter used to keep track of these in the start box is a bit flimsy, and the movable parts have a tendency to go AWOL.
Enter mr F of Underground Lasers, making an acrylic version.
The concept is simple enough; two movable pieces, one to keep track of the tens, and one to keep track of the singles. In this case, the actual tracking doodads (technical term, I promise) are kept in place through pre-cut square holes, matching pegs on the doodads. The number in question is displayed through a cut circle in the doodad, making the value perfectly clear. 
As an added bonus, the edges are cut at 45 degrees angle, making it usable for measuring fire arcs, or Lumbering movement as well. 

A very good tool that does it's job, and then some, but I do have a few things I'd like to point out:
  • The zeroes are engraved farthest to the right, I'd have liked them to the left.
  • The pegs have a little bit to loose tolerance, making the doodads susceptible to falling out, if say a bystander would be a bit rough with the counter. Nothing a bit of white glue (to thicken the pegs) won't fix, but a small annoyance nonetheless. 
A weak 4 out of 5, the loose pegs are enough of a irritation that it gets a slight downgrade.

All in all, a solid set of gaming tools for Planetfall.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

[Planetfall] The bigger they are...

...the more they need some detailing of their big base.

In lieu of gaming this Saturday, I buckled down and got some long overdue modelling done, namely my El-Shami Leviathan. I'd already decided to change the 'feet', but this time the base was due for some detailing.

My two extra infantry bases volunteered to provide some sense of proportion (better than to spend the foreseeable future unpainted, I guess), and an old Dindrenzi Stormcaller half-track got turned into a wreck. 
After that I set up some putty and sand to create a footprint, and the half track got some tracks behind it as well, to show from where it came

After painting the usual flock will be added, and perhaps even a tree, although that might be a bit much.

Next up: Things I've actually completed recently!

Monday, June 8, 2015

[Planetfall] Terrain Notes

So, during the past week I've actually been playing some games of Planetfall (and finishing up my Core Helix, more on that later).

So far, most of my games has been losses.

I'll admit, I've made a few mistakes (I'm usually far too aggressive with my Recons, for one thing), but I'm starting to consider if me and my opponent does not actually play with too much terrain on the table.

Looking at others battle reports, it seems that at most players have at most 3-5 larger pieces and a smattering of smaller things, which is a far cry from the 8+ buildings, plus forests and bunkers, that usually gets put on our table.
That actually got me thinking; what kind of game is this supposed to be, regarding terrain?

Obviously, terrain has a huge impact on both tactics and strategy, particularly for the Aquans, who at once both want terrain, to make use of the Hit and Run MAR and their above average mobility, and wants clear firing lines, to best leverage the long range of their lasers.

Obviously, this means that there should be some guidelines for how much terrain to use, much like the famous 25% rule in Firestorm Armada.
Looking in the Planetfall rulebook, there are only two ways to set up terrain described;
  • In a mutuable agreeable way, which can obviously be any which way.
  • Random (or 'Tournament') setup, averaging one terrain piece for every 2' section of the board (so 6 in total).
With the guidelines in the rulebook regarding terrain size, we can extrapolate a min, max and average terrain coverage:

  • Minimal terrain is two terrain pieces. Although unlikely (less than 1/10th of a percent) it is a possibility, and will mean that vary little of the board i covered (although two 12x12 pieces in the middle could give something to play around...)
  • Average is around 6 terrain pieces, which should cover (36"^2 x 6) assuming that the average terrain piece is half of the max size on each side (max being defined in the rulebook as 12x12"). Coverage 216 square inches, or 6.25 %.
  • Maximum assumes 12x12" pieces, 2 per sector, so 12 in total, giving 1728 square inches of coverage, or 50 %. 
Looking at these numbers, we can calculate some kind of median, or at least max divided by two (not really a mathematical median, by any means), i.e 864 square inches of coverage, or 25%.

Based on this, I'd recommend between 10 and 25 percent of coverage, at least as a guideline akin to Armadas 25% rule.
Yes, this means that Planetfall is supposed to have less terrain than Armada, which might not be that surprising, considering the larger impact of terrain dirtside (no indirect weapons to fire through LoS blocking or impeding terrain pieces...).

For my next game, I'll most definitely try the something like the median, or at least something close to it (instead of having 2-3 buildings in the same sector... Let me tell you, that really limits the fire arcs, and thus the possible moves, that one can do)

I'll see if I cannot get some photos of the various setups, to get an image of how much coverage these alternatives really gives.