Sunday, April 28, 2019

European Federation Variant Fleet Statistics for Full Thrust

I've tackled doing Full Thrust stats for Brigade Models' EuroFed range several times now, including these two earlier posts:

While the posts seem to be pretty popular (at least judging by how many hits they've had) there have been a few complaints.

Apparently some people flat-out refuse to use salvo missile systems for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes the complaint is complexity, sometimes they think the weapons are too strong, and sometimes they think they're too weak.

Since I deliberately built the fleet to showcase heavy rack missile armaments, it doesn't work very well as written for these folks.

Now, I admit missile racks worry me a bit sometimes as well, and I'm an obliging guy, so here's a proposal to modify the previous statistics so they use fewer salvo missiles, including the option to swap them out entirely.

The variant is simple:  Take any salvo missile rack a EuroFed ship mounts and replace it with four submunition packs.  Costs and Mass remain the same.  You can change out some, none or all of the racks as desired.  The resulting ships will still have the same overall tactic of "one big shot and then decide whether to stay and fight or run away" but getting that shot off becomes harder and puts you more at risk.  On the plus side, you can stop caring about point defense and you'll probably appreciate that big Thrust 6 rating even more than you used to. 

Submunitions have a single 60 degree arc of fire.  The four packs that replace each missile rack should have the "center" firing arc of the three the rack had.  In most cases this will be the Front arc, although there are exceptions.  The Abruzzi, for ex, would have the "wing" racks centered Front-Starboard or Front-Port. 

Some folks use the Continuum rules, which give submunitions 180 firing arcs for no extra cost.  I don't think that's very balanced personally, but if you're doing that you can just use the same firing arcs for both racks and packs here.

The background fluff for this swap goes like this:
As time went by the EuroFed High Command found their commitment to extensive missile armament increasingly problematic.  Modern NAC and NSL ship designs were employing heavier and heavier fleet defense systems and individual point defense arrays, making it harder and harder to deliver crippling strikes.  Worse, the Xeno War brought EuroFed forces into direct conflict with alien technology that was even more effective at stopping massed missile attacks.  Kra'Vak scatterguns had limited ammunition, but it was generally more than sufficient to pull the teeth of human missile and fighter strikes.

In response, Fleet R&D developed the "Carreau" hypervelocity submunition.  These small semi-guided missiles were designed to replace the larger shipkiller warheads used by conventional seeker missiles used by the fleet, with half a dozen submunitions in each missile's alternate payload.  Carreaux were equipped with overpowered ultra-short-ranged "sprint" drives and relied on kinetic impact rather than explosive charges to inflict damage.  The combination of high final approach speed and lack of a warhead to detonate made the submunitions effectively invulnerable to point defense weaponry, although it also reduced range and accuracy to an extreme degree.       

So, in this variant, the missile racks are still there, but their payload has been swapped out with shorter ranged submunition-pack carriers that aren't affected by PDS fire due to speed, numbers, and being a solid chunk of metal rather than a shaped-charge penetrator warhead.  If you want to be "realistic" about things you might require all four submunition packs that replace a single salvo rack to fire all at once and at a single target, but that's up to you and might be too limiting.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Full Thrust House Rule: Knocked Off Course

Following a recent discussion about Full Thrust being boring and predictable to play (something I don't agree with, incidentally) it seemed like a good idea to re-post an old house rule I've used on and off for years now.  This is the latest iteration of it with some refinements from game play, and it's intended to be a "chaos enhancer" in games by adding another variable to play and breaking up formation maneuvering.  Like all house rules you should get your opponent's approval before playing with it.
Knocked Off Course:
Severe damage will sometimes result in sudden unexpected changes in a ship's course.  This may be the result of sheer kinetic impact, damaged drives flaring and sputtering wildly, an unbalanced spaceframe as parts of the hull are blown off, or the ever popular "dying helmsman falls on his controls" trope.
Whenever a ship takes a threshold check, roll one extra die to see if the vessel's course is affected by the damage.  This check uses the same target number as the threshold checks (6 for the first check, 5-6 for the second, etc.) and therefore is more likely to occur as damage mounts.  Modifiers are applied as normal, so for example a ship that goes completely past the first two threshold points in one volley would test on 4-6 (5-6 for the second thresh point +1 for the "skipped" first one).  If the ship is affected it is said to be "Knocked Off Course" and the following procedure is used depending on whether you're using Cinematic or Vector movement rules.
Cinematic:  The ship's course changes.  Roll 1d6 and consult the following chart.
1:  Change the ship's heading two points (60 degrees) to starboard.
2-3:  Change the ship's heading one point (30 degrees) to starboard.
4-5:  Change the ship's heading one point to port.
6:  Change the ship's heading two points to port.
Vector:  The ship's course changes AND the vessel tumbles wildly.  First roll 1d6 and consult the following chart.
1-3:  Move the ship's course arrow one point (30 degrees) to starboard.
4-6:  Move the ship's course arrow one point to port.
After adjusting the course arrow, roll 1d12 and change the ship's facing to that direction on the clock face (with 12 o'clock being the current facing).
If you don't have a d12 (seriously? are you sure you're a gamer?) roll a 1d6 followed by a second 1d6.  If the second roll is 1-3 add nothing to the first roll.  If the second roll is 4-6 add 6 to the first roll.  Treat the result as the d12 roll above.
Did I really need to tell anyone how to do that?
Any changes to heading and/or facing occur immediately, which may affect firing arcs if the ship hasn't fired yet this turn.  A particularly unlucky ship might take several volleys causing threshold checks during a turn and possibly be knocked off course multiple times, with each incidence resolving independently.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Assimilation: Alien Host Gallery

Way back in 2012 Troll Forged Games ran Kickstarter for their Assimilation: Alien Host miniatures range, the project page being here:
The project was funded successfully with 399 backers and was meant to ship starting in 2013.  This did not go according to plan.  As of 2019, somewhere around half of the backers (including myself) have received their figures, Troll Forged Games is closed, the owner has left the gaming industry, and Impact Miniatures has taken over fulfillment efforts with the main sticking point apparently being postage costs.
This is unfortunate, albeit not a complete debacle as many crowdfunding projects wind up being.  The figures I received were creative, well-sculpted, matched the concept art well (mostly), and had a lot of obvious appeal for use in a variety of scifi, horror, and fantasy RPGS and minis games.  It's a shame the minis are probably still years away from going on general sale, and that so many backers are still waiting on their rewards seven years after donating.
Since I've painted the majority of the alien figures at this point it seems like this would be a good time to put up a gallery page showing off what the models look like.  I've still got a few things that I haven't done, and a few others that were painted and sold a while ago that could use better images, so I'll be updating now and then as I finish more, with the newest stuff at the top of the images.  Some of the figures are available for sale here:
Sadly, I never ordered any of the "alien hunter" models so I can't help with images of those.  Perhaps one of the other lucky backers who did get them will do their own gallery page so this range will be preserved online if they don't make it to retail after all.  One of the problems with kickstarter projects is the way limited run and exclusive miniatures can fall through the cracks, leaving us with holes in the internet's historical record of what was once available.  Must drive the Lost Minis wiki guys crazy.  Consider this page to be my effort at preserving their sanity.  :)
Without further ado, the pictures:

There are more images of some of these models on this post from the end of 2022, for anyone browsing this far back.
Carnage Hound on 60mm base

Drone & Larvae Swarms

Cannon Drone & Eggs on 120mm base

Alien Wyrm on 60mm base - a slightly modified build with the mandibles moved around and the tentacular "hair" left off.

Alternate take on the build from a mispack (they shipped it with no head) and some spare parts.

Fiend on 120mm base - another modified build with some parts moved around or left off.

One of two Goliath Worm types, very heavily modified into a burrowing creature with its tentacles based separately as grasping limbs coming from below.  The base build is a mess to assemble and full of gaps and badly fitting parts, but the parts are handy in different configurations.

Converted Overlord on 45mm base.  This one's had a head swap from one of the warriors and an alien egg added to the base, and is up for sale.  You'll note the KS page says he's meant to be big enough to need a 120mm base, so this is one of the models that wound up being not quite on spec in the end.  Still, a neat mini overall.  Comes in six parts, body, two arms, two wings, choice of one of four head variants.   

A pair of Queen Guards on 45 bases, also for sale.  This is the stock model, and comes in five parts - lower snake body, upper snake body & torso, two arms, head.



Queen Guard #2.

This one's a bit of a cheat, since the majority of the model is a Deadzone Stage 1 Plague mini from Mantic, slightly reposed and with a head swap from the Alien Host Overlord.  Many of the Host figs include multiple heads and the Overlord's the best of them with four variants.  The coincidence of the sculpting style of the carapace on these two kits is a happy one, and this is by far one of my favorite conversions of the last few years.  A big model standing on a 45mm base.

Sky Hunter on 60mm base.  Comes in six pieces IIRC - head, torso, snake body, two wings, and the chest tentacles.  No variant parts on this one.

Grub Worms, including the KS exclusive "Big Grub" mini.  The little guys are on 25mm bases, the big one on a 45mm.  All are two piece minis - head and body - and the regular Grubs have many, many head and body variants.

The actual Alien Host figures that gave the project its name.  Pretty much infested zombies bloated with growing larval worms.  There are six variant sculpts of the standard type on 25mm bases, and a KS Exclusive version that's about ogre-sized and sits on a 40mm base.  All are single piece figures.
There are currently 30 of these for sale through the blog's Items For Same page.

Swarm Adults on 25mm bases.  These are two piece castings - body and one of several head variants.  Taller than a human but not huge.

Swarm Warriors on 40mm bases.  Four piece models again - body, two arms, one of several head variants.  These are armed with ranged and melee bioweapons, and are much bigger than a human.

Stealth Warriors on 40mm bases.  Pretty much melee-only warriors, albeit with entirely different parts.  Four pieces - body, two arms, one of several heads.  You could probably get even more figure variety by swapping parts between the Swarm Warrior and Stealth Warrior figs as they're quite similar in size and style.   

Swarm Master on 40mm base.  A four piece model - body, head, two arms.  Don't remember there being variant heads on this one, but I might be misremembering.

Queens and Eggs on 60mm bases.  The eggs are single piece models and have about four variants, mostly quite similar.  The Queen kit is seven pieces - two pairs of legs, two arms, abdomen, torso, and one of two head variants. 


Alien Wyrm on 60mm base.  I've altered the assembly on this one - the two long limbs on either side of the mandibles are meant to be attached to the lower body where the two small tendrils are, but I preferred this look.  Comes in many parts - upper body, lower body, head, mouthpart tentacles, "dreadlock" tentacles, two forelimbs, and eight or ten individual tentacles, some of which are spares.