Monday, 2 March 2015

Loud Ninja Games: The Ikwen Uprising is Upon Us

Ikwen Coming March 4th, 2015


Over a generation ago, the planet Kwiell was set upon by aliens bent on exploiting the natural resources of the planet. The planet's native population, the Ikwen, found themselves suddenly enslaved and their society rocked as they were enslaved, put to work and in many cases hunted and killed. The Ikwen have spent decades in frustrated servitude to these invading overlords, hedging on their beliefs and their close-knit kinship ties to get them through. It was only when the invaders sought to remove their spiritual identities that they found the courage to rise up and go to war.

The conflict began as acts of sabotage, ambushes and in some cases organized resistance but as time went on it grew into a very real, very active militia war. Weapons were procured through theft or the trade of the very resources they had been robbed of. Groups of soldiers took to the wilderness, the highlands and steppes where they enlisted the locals there into their fight. Ancient desert fortresses and settlements were once more turned into homes for fighters and their families. Ancient warrior traditions and less-spoken of factions found a renewed place in the world.

The Ikwen are one side of an asymmetric war against a higher tech, invading enemy. They fight in a less organized, militia style, utilizing acquired weapons, not of their of own manufacture.

While we see them as very much freedom-fighting indigenous life forms, use them as alien invaders, allies, mercenaries or even lower tech indigenous forces for more organized warfare.

On 4th March 2015 we will be releasing the next packs in the Loud Ninja Games range at 15mm.co.uk . These will be the Ikwen as described in the words of their imagineer Eli Arndt. Sculpted by Roderick Campbell there will be three packs and a platoon pack with saving.

Here are pictures of the codes for you to look at:


RAP016 Ikwen Militia with Assault Rifles (6 in pack)



RAP018 Ikwen Militia with Light Machine Gun (6 in pack – 3 poses)



RAP017 Ikwen Militia with Rocket Launchers (6 in pack – 3 poses)



RAP016P Ikwen Militia Platoon (24) with saving!


These are lovely 15mm sci-fi miniatures with an original idea behind them and we love them.

We hope you do too.

-Eli and Gavin

Would You Like Fries With That?

The Ion Age's New Service Droid




This month the folks at the Ion Age bring us a special miniature with a bit of whimsy. The Happy Burger Bot is a characterful serving robot representing a galactic franchise with a standard of quality in both product and service.

The Happy Burger Bot is available free with any order through the month of March 2015. It may be purchased separately or in multiples as well. 

For more information on this playful special miniatures, go - HERE 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sunday food for thought: game design

Hi guys,

Long time no posts... I guess real life does that sometimes. Anyway, just surfacing for a moment in order to introduce this excellent series of articles by evilleMonkeigh on Delta Vector!
Walls and walls (30 of them) of text for sure (but it's Sunday: shops are closed, weather is shitty and kids are getting mad), but utterly interesting ones. evilleMonkeigh is field stripping every part of our favorite hobby (various aspects of what makes a rule system tick of course, but also broader topics like how "fluff" or commercialism interact with game design. A few dead horse in there (and the occasional rant embryo, thankfully kept under control), but quite a few eyes openers too... I've been avidly reading them since they started and found my self thinking "so THAT is why I like this or that game"  more than once!

I assume quite a few Dropship Horizon frequent flyers are regulars at Delta Vector too, but for the rest of us... Mandatory reading if you ever considered writing your own game (wouldn't that be every miniature wargamer ever?)

Thank you for evilleMonkeigh for allowing us to repost this here! 

The series so far:

"What started out as half a dozen posts dissecting common rules issues has grown into a surprisingly large, comprehensive series, often driven by reader responses.  Here's the break-down of the articles so far:

1. "Decision Points" 
This is about "decision points"(TM) - the amount of times during a game or turn that the player can make a choice to influence the outcome of a game. "Resolution" is how long it takes to resolve these decisions. Lots of decisions + simple/fast resolution = good game.

2.  The Fifth Element
Most wargames have the four Ms: Morale, Melee, Missile & Movement. But games need something more. What is the X factor that sets a game apart from its peers?

3. Special Rules, Stat Lines, and False Economy
In which I posit the modern trend to move away from stat lines is actually complicating matters as well as losing differentiation.

4. Keep it Consistent
Keeping mechanics consistent vs using 20 different dice rolling methods.

5. What happened to Time Scale and Ground Scale in Wargames?
They still exist, even if we ignore them.  It's the game designer sacrificing realism for the ability to play 100 genres with the same rule set.

6.  "Realism"in Wargames
In which the realism-v-fun myth is debunked; it's actually realism vs unrealistic, and simple vs complicated.  Realism is possible, and it's a good thing.

7.  Design Philosophy
The importance of designers "nailing their colours to the mast" and setting a clear success criteria.

8. Scenarios for Wargames
The old chestnut. Points systems vs scenarios. Can they co-exist?

9. Fluff n'Stuff.
A few ground rules for good fluff.

10.  Pre-measuring vs Guessing
Always a contentious topic. Do we favour estimation skills or geometry? Or neither?

11. The Balanced Points System
In which I contend a balanced point system is impossible on many levels - but still worth including.

12. Commercialism - Supplements, Rules and Miniature Sales
The rise of the "cookie-cutter" one-size-its-all rulebook, and how miniature sales (not fun, playability or realism are driving game design. The codex arms race. 

13.  Is Originality Possible?
There are only a finite amount of ways to represent wargame mechanics - and do we really need more anyway?

14. The "Forgotten" - Terrain, Victory Conditions, & Balance
The often-neglected impact of terrain and alternate victory conditions on game balance. 

15. Philosophy in Wargames
Game designers need to decide how they want their game to play; then reward/punish using modifiers and game mechanics to "encourage" players to play that way.  For example, 40K rewards good list building and deployment; Infinity emphasizes the good use of cover and positioning of fire lanes. 

16. Record Keeping, Counters & Bookkeeping
Considering the tradeoffs of "enhancing gameplay" vs ""time/fiddliness." Is it worth it?

17. Playtesting - is it a fair test?
Using the scientific method of a "fair test" I point out how it's almost impossible to playtest a game properly.

18. The decline of MMOs, and how it applies to wargames
Drawing parallels between the stagnation of MMO design and trends in wargame design.

19. "Early Access" ""Pay to Win" and "Wargaming DLC" 
Some less-than-desirable trends from the PC industry that seem to be transferring to wargame companies.

20. Realism Revisited
I revisit the "realism vs fun" myth and attempt to define it more accurately, in terms such as "process vs results" and "detailed vs abstract."

21. RPG Resources 
Musing about magic systems, and concepts wargames could borrow from RPGs.

22. Best Selling Wargames
Analyzing the bestselling games, and trying to quantify what makes a rule set commercially successful.

23. Enjoyable or Innovative Mechanics 1 - Setup/Activation
Sharing fun and interesting game mechanics.

24. Favourite Mechanics 2  - Movement
Sharing more favourite game mechanics. 

25. Mordhiem, Competitive Campaigns, & Balance
No game has filled the Necromunda/Mordhiem niche. A look at balancing campaigns for the competitive sphere.

26.  The out-of-game experience
Most successful games seem to have lots to do when you aren't actually playing. 

27. True Line of Sight
It's increasingly popular, and almost the de-facto for vision rules. But is true-line-of-site really the best choice?

28.  Morale Rules & Combat Stress
Musing on morale systems. Is there a "best"method, or can we ignore morale altogether?

29. Vietnam in Space
Hard sci-fi is everywhere - it's the new "platoon-level WW2" - where has the imagination gone?"

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Double Duty: Making 28mm Work In 15mm, Part 1

The market for 15mm miniatures and models has exploded in the last few years.  That's a good thing.

But, we as gamers are hard to satisfy, and sometimes we look for alternate sources, alternate uses for things.  We tend to repurpose and appropriate from other scales, and make them fit into other roles.

Maybe it's an old fig you have laying around, maybe it's a good deal you couldn't pass up, and other times it's a cool fig you just want to make work in another scale.

I call this making a model perform "Double Duty." 

As long as a model isn't locked into a certain scale by size cues (doors, hatches, etc) or long-standing brand emblems, it is a good candidate for Double Duty.  With some small modifications and repainting, a wide number of models can be pressed into service on the 15mm tabletop.

Often, a 28mm monster enjoys a bump up in horror and intimidation when it is matched against 15mm figures.  The predicaments faced in dungeon crawl adventures (and their sci-fi equivalents) can be made much more terrifying.

Alien monsters that are no big deal facing off against 28mm heroes are now towering monstrosities when pitted against 15mm figs.  There's an amplification of the threat in size and proportion. Take a look at Reaper's famed dragon figures.  You think they're big in 28mm?  Put them up against 15mm figs, and the largest of them can pass for Kaiju!  ;)

As a quick "for instance," I'll focus today on using 28mm sculpted figs in 15mm settings.

 Reaper's Cyber-Reavers, from their Chronoscope Range
 Copplestone Castings' Terminator Robots (Code FW15) from their Future Wars Range.

GW's Necron Immortals, from WH40K.  Found on Amazon.

Deathbots.  Nothing says your lumbering, unstoppable, metal-clad-skeleton enemies have to be the same size as the human troops they are fighting. A 28mm scale deathbot, or Terminator, or Necron, is usually well over an inch and a quarter tall (32mm for you metric types).  Translate that to 15mm scale (at the 1/100th fractional equivalent), and that deathbot is now over 10 feet tall.


Robots in 28mm scale can also do Double Duty in 15mm.  Some folks want mechanical drone armies, and these offerings (The XAIRobots) from Reaper can be bought as a pack, or multiples of a single type.  Link here.

If you are looking for more of a clockwork flavor for your bots, Warmachine's Eradicators do very nicely, in my opinion, as do many other units from their new Convergence faction.
 
For aliens, again, nothing says they have to be the same proportions as your human troops.  Different ecologies on different planets are going to result in different sizes of life forms.
 These Kulathian Invaders from Reaper are 28mm figs that would easily be giant aliens when put up against 15mm troops.  They're big, ugly, and mean-looking.  Perfect for augmenting a pirate band or organic army, or as a stand-alone force.

 Reaper lists this guy as a Bathalian Drone.  A lot of the Bathalian miniatures make for fearsome, giant-sized organic aliens when doing Double Duty, and a number of them are being done in the Bones material, which should bring costs down if you don't want to pay for metal.

Last, but not least, a Hormagaunt swarm in WH40K is a pretty average troop unit, but when pitted against 15mm troops, they become horrific organic killing machines, able to cleave heavy power armor suits with a single swipe.  You can pick some up here on Amazon.

Well, that's part one.  As you can see, the focus was on 28mm troop figures.  We will concentrate on larger figs that can pass as mechs (and their equivalents) when we visit this Double Duty topic again.

On behalf of Dropship Horizon,
JBR

All photos and IP are property of their respective owners.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Ravenstar Studios 20% Off Winter Sale


Ravenstar Studios is throwing a 20% off Winter Sale.

If you've been wanting to get ahold of those great Land Core 15mm mechs, VTOLs, grav tanks, or walkers, now is your chance.



Also, if your conventional forces need an unconventional opposition force, this is a great opportunity to grab some of those beautifully done Horrids, Chris Lynch's biomechanical units.

The code is WS20.

If you have any additional questions, email Chris at ravenstarstudios@charter.net
 
On Behalf Of Dropship Horizon,
JBR


Thursday, 19 February 2015

New Rides For The Ion Age


Hello all you dropship passengers out there,

This week, the folks at The Ion Age roll out (pun intended) three new wheeled vehicles to accompany their Planetary Militia releases from last week. The for wheeled Hazelwurm provides an excellent, light patrol vehicle or even a colony transport for your non-military minis use.


The six-wheeled chassis for the Colabreta comes in both a patrol and command variant, allowing it to the form the wheeled core of your Planetary militia forces or perhaps as rugged transport and survey vehicles for those of you with a bent toward galactic adventure.


I feel that all three of these vehicles combine a nice balance between space opera and believable future vehicles. It also occurs to me that painted in law enforcement colors they would not be out of place patrols the streets of a block supporting judges and other hands of justice.


As usual, you can get the full story straight from the source by heading over to the Ion Age Blog - HERE