Another challenge for you-know-who!
Cue the trumpet!
Another challenge for you-know-who!
Cue the trumpet!
Captain’s Log Supplemental: We have escaped the Klingon prison and regrouped in the jungles of Hubbard’s World. Mr. Scott has beamed down a security team to assist us. We managed to retrieve our tricorders and have set off in pursuit of the source of the strange energy that seems to be the cause of the unchecked, sentient plant life here on the the planet. Being above ground again should feel good, but the oppressive humidity hasn’t gone anywhere and once more, it’s difficult to breathe. None of us, except perhaps Mr. Sulu, will be sad to leave this place.
The air shimmered as three humanoid forms began to take shape. A moment later, Lt. Hikaru Sulu and two Starfleet security officers stood in the clearing. They glanced around for a moment before Sulu approached the Captain.
“Security team reporting, sir,” Sulu said.
Kirk grinned. “Nice to see you, Mr. Sulu.”
“Nice to be seen, Captain.”
“Glad you could join us. Although I was expecting Mr. Chekov.”
“I pulled rank on him, sir,” said Sulu. “Sentient plants. I wasn’t about to miss that. Hope you don’t mind, sir.”
“Not at all. Your knowledge of botany could come in handy. It’s a…rather unique…place.”
McCoy grinned at Sulu. “Glad to have you along. At least now we won’t have to hear about how the Russians invented plants.”
“Now that we are all present,” said Spock, “I recommend we proceed with haste to the site of the tricorder readings. The Klingons are certainly not waiting.”
“Agreed,” said Kirk. “Fan out, everyone, and watch for threats. Spock, take point. We’ll follow you.”
A few minutes later, they followed Spock into another underground cavern. They could hear the echoes of raised voices arguing in Klingon. Kirk motioned for the team to take up positions silently and crept forward, accompanied by Spock and McCoy. In the midst of the cavern was a strange machine pulsing with visible energy. The Klingons kept a healthy distance from it, but it was clear it was the focus of their attention.
“That machine is the source of the energy, Captain,” said Spock. “It is almost certainly extraterrestrial in origin; nothing like it has been observed on this world.”
“Jim, look!” McCoy pointed. Guarded closely by a pair of brutish Klingons was a bedraggled and exhausted-looking Dr. Hubbard. A Klingon with the unmistakable aura of authority barked an order and Hubbard began working feverishly with his tricorder. Whatever he attempted must have failed, as a moment later, the Klingon captain swore loudly. He whirled on Hubbard and the scientist quailed.
“Looks like they’re trying to beam that doohickey out of here,” said McCoy. “Hubbard is probably being forced to help.”
“Agreed, Captain,” said Spock. “However, removing the doohickey would ensure the catastrophic destruction of this planet’s ecosystem. It is therefore imperative that the Klingons not succeed at their endeavor.”
Whatever reply Kirk was about to make was cut off as the ground began to tremble violently. “All right,” Kirk said when it subsided, “it seems time is against us. Rescue the doctor if possible, but make sure the Klingons don’t get what they’re after. Let’s go.”
Scenario: It’s the final showdown with the Klingons over the alien technology responsible for the plant life on Hubbard’s World. The Klingons are trying to beam the machine off-world, but they need Dr. Hubbard’s help to do that. The Enterprise crew is trying to stop them and rescue Dr. Hubbard. Meanwhile, the strange alien machine is protecting itself…it doesn’t want to go anywhere!
Victory Conditions: The Klingons win if they succeed at beaming the machine off-world, or if both Kirk and Spock are KO’ed at the same time. The Enterprise crew wins if they manage to KO both the Klingon Captain and the Klingon Lieutenant before the machine is beamed off-world. Should this occur, the remaining Klingons surrender.
Forces: The Klingons have a Klingon Captain (Grade 3), a Klingon Lieutenant (Grade 2), and four Klingon Warriors (Grade 1). The Captain also has two more Klingon Warriors in reserve, not deployed at the start of the game. Starfleet has Captain Kirk (Grade 3), Mr. Spock (Grade 2), Dr. McCoy (Grade 2), Mr Sulu (Grade 1), and two Security Officers (Grade 1). The two teams deploy on opposite table corners, with the alien machine smack in the middle.
Countdown: There are no encounter markers in this scenario; rather an event deck randomly determines what occurs at the beginning of each round. Three of the cards in the deck represent a Klingon transporter lock; once the third such card is in play, the machine is beamed off-planet at the start of the next round and the Klingons win. If Dr. Hubbard is rescued before the Klingons achieve the third transporter lock, Starfleet wins.
Dr. Hubbard: Dr. Hubbard is crucial to this scenario. The Klingons are holding Dr. Hubbard hostage and forcing him to work for them, as their transporter technology isn’t as good as Starfleet’s. As long as there is a Klingon model within 2″ of Dr. Hubbard, he is captive. If that ever changes, Dr. Hubbard makes a run for it. He can’t sprint of fight, but he will move towards the nearest Starfleet model at his full move. He is recaptured if a Klingon moves within 2″ again. He is automatically rescued if a Starfleet model moves within 2″ of him and there are no Klingons within 2″.
Dr. Hubbard is scared, but he’s still a Starfleet officer and he doesn’t want the Klingons to succeed. Two of the cards in the deck represent intentional miscalculations designed to give the Enterprise crew more time to stop the Klingons. If one of these cards is drawn, shuffle a transporter lock card back into the event deck.
Dr. Hubbard cannot be the target of an attack, nor is he affected by any events in the Event Deck.
The Alien Machine: The machine cannot be attacked or destroyed. The Klingons want it too badly, and Strafleet would never risk damaging the planet.
Turn 1: The Klingons get the first turn. Before they act, an event is drawn from the deck: Dr. Hubbard manages to get a transporter lock on the alien machine! Not off to a good start for Starfleet! The rest of the turn is taken up by movement. The Klingons move towards the machine, maintaining cover for the most part, while the Enterprise crew splits up, attempting to flank the Klingons. One Klingon soldier tries to shoot Ensign S’lyr, the Vulcan security officer, but he misses.
Turn 2: The Klingons retain initiative. The event deck draw is a cave-in! The Klingon player nominates an enemy model-in this case, he decides to stick with the Vulcan security officer, Ensign S’lyr. She fails her Dodge test and is buried under a ton of cascading rock! Oh, the humanity (Vulcanity?)!
Now, sadly, as I write this, I have discovered that my iPhone’s voice memos, which I use to record these little game sessions for later transcription, just decided to NOT FUCKING WORK. So, apologies to all. I am winging the rest of this, because my FUCKING iPhone FUCKED ME. So, no turn-by-turn anymore. I’ll just give the general results as I recall them. Above: Kirk kills a Klingon soldier. I forget the context.
At some point, the Klingon Captain made use of his “Meet My Minions” ability, which allows him to instantly “summon” two low-grade henchmen to his person. These Klingons were the models not deployed at the start of the game.
Captain Kirk promptly shot one of them after shooting the Klingon above. He spent Hero Points to do it. The Klingon Captain shoots Kirk, and uses his own Hero Points to activate his Deadly Accuracy ability. This increases the strength of his disruptor enough to cause 2 wounds instead of one. Ouch!
Spock shot the Klingon Captain and managed to KO him. I forget how. I think Kirk might have shot him first. But I forget.
Meanwhile, the Klingon Lieutenant snuck around the rock, trying to flank Sulu. Some Klingon shot and killed the Andorian security officer, Ensign Vendax.
Not sure of the Turn here (FUCK YOU, iPhone!), but the Klingon Lieutenant charged Sulu and put him down hard. I made the Klingons beasts in melee, as they should be. Sulu’s no slouch, but he got charged from behind.
It looks bad for Starfleet, but the event deck draw is an energy burst from the machine that knocks down anyone who fails a Dodge test. Everyone above who is on their ass, except for Sulu and the Klingon Captain, who are both Ko’ed, got knocked over by the burst.
This gave Starfleet some breathing room. McCoy shot the Klingon Captain, who had revived but wasn’t able to stand up in time. He KO’ed him again. Kirk shot the Klingon Lieutenant, KO’ing him, too. With their leadership decimated, the remaining Klingons surrendered!
Victory for Starfleet!
R.I.P. to the fallen Starfleet security officers of the Hubbard’s World campaign. L-R: Ensign Gatwick, Ensign Heathrow, Ensign Stansted, Ensign S’lyr, Ensign Vendax.
Cue the bagpipes, Mr. Scott.
Analysis: This short campaign was a lot of fun. I’m happy with the changes I made to the Fantastic Worlds rules, as they only served to speed play by eliminating some of the bookkeeping. If I had opted to track wound locations and effects, the games would have undoubtedly been longer, but I’m not sure anything would have been gained by it.
To be honest, Starfleet was on a losing streak and I didn’t think they would pull it off. I do know there was an event in the deck that could have made things more interesting: the machine would have animated some of the Deathspitter plants, which would have been another obstacle for both players to deal with. The luck of the draw was with the players, however, and that particular card never appeared.
Starfleet tried to get close enough to the Klingon guarding Dr. Hubbard in the hopes of shooting him and freeing the doctor, but he was deployed too far away.
On a personal note, I am really annoyed with Apple, as my voice memos recorded, but can’t be played back. A quick visit to the Apple forums shows that I’m not the only person to experience this, and Apple doesn’t seem to have a solution beyond “upgrade to the latest iPhone.” Bullshit. From now on I’ll use a digital recorder, circa 1999. At least it will do what it’s supposed to.
I want to do another FW Star Trek campaign soon, perhaps using the TNG crew. I have an idea already…
Captain’s Log Supplemental: We have determined the science team entered the jungle to investigate an unknown energy source; one that seems responsible for the sentient, animate plant life we have discovered here on Hubbard’s World. This planet is fraught with danger; we have already lost Ensign Gatwick, and we discovered the body of Ensign Jorgensen, a botanist assigned to Dr. Hubbard’s science team. Further, a Klingon spy managed to escape the camp before we could stop him. What he was doing here is unknown, however it’s a good bet the communications array fell victim to Klingon sabotage, and that the Klingons now know everything we do. We are going into the jungle to find the source of the strange energy and to discover the fate of our missing scientists.
The humidity was oppressive and brutal. Even Spock was showing signs of exertion. All around them, the flora of Hubbard’s World seemed an impenetrable, dark curtain; eerily silent, with none of the insect or animal sounds common to jungles on planets everywhere. Still, Captain James T. Kirk felt as though they were being watched.
Dr. McCoy wiped his forehead with his sleeve. “Are we there yet?”
Spock consulted his tricorder. “I assume you are speaking rhetorically, Doctor. Scans indicate we are still some distance from the source of the energy readings.”
“Your Vulcan physiology may be used to this kind of heat, Spock,” said McCoy, irritably, “but we humans aren’t meant to live like this, breathing soup.”
“Although my planet’s temperatures average several degrees higher than the current temperature here on Hubbard’s World,” Spock replied,”Vulcan is an arid, desert planet with far less atmospheric carbon dioxide. We would all breathe more comfortably there.”
McCoy smirked. “So, you’re saying it’s not the heat, it’s–“
“Finish that sentence at your own risk, Bones,” said Kirk. “What else is that tricorder telling you, Spock?”
“It is presently informing me that we are not alone, Captain.”
At that moment, a disruptor blast incinerated a nearby tree. The three men quickly took cover.
Kirk scowled and drew his phaser. “Klingons!”
Scenario: The crew of the Enterprise, in search of the missing science team, is making their way through the inhospitable jungle to the source of the strange energy readings that seems to be affecting the plant life on Hubbard’s World. The Klingons are doing the same.
Victory Conditions: The teams are searching for clues to find the source of the energy. This is represented by a series of 3 encounter markers. The first team to discover the path to the energy source by finding the last clue may nominate a point within 6″ of the model that discovered it. The first team to move all their models off the board from this point wins.
Dense Foliage: The jungle is dense and difficult to move through. Speeed is halved, and models must pass a Brawn test every round to avoid becoming entangled.
It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity: The jungle is oppressive; all models have a penalty of -1 to their Brawn and Melee scores for the scenario. (In addition, any miniature who utters the name of this rule aloud is immediately attacked by his own teammates.)
Ambush!: Because the Klingon player won the last scenario and the spy escaped, the Klingons have been forewarned and have had time to set up ambushes in the jungle. The Klingon player may replace up to 2 encounter cards with ambush cards. When activated by a Starfleet model, place a Klingon model 6″ behind the model that activated the encounter. This model attacks immediately and counts as Gettin’ the Drop on the Starfleet model. The model will activate normally on the next turn. If this encounter is activated by a Klingon model, it counts as no effect. Shuffle the card back into the deck.
Forces: The Enterprise crew is down a man, as Ensign Gatwick fell victim to the dangerous plant-beings of Hubbard’s World last scenario. As a result, only Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Ensign Heathrow are available for this scenario. The Klingons consist of Korgal, a Klingon lieutenant, and four Klingon warriors, plus any that are activated by ambush encounters.
Turn 1: The Enterprise crew gets initiative. Spock activates first and moves to within 3″ of an an encounter marker. Being Observant, he can activate it from there. The card drawn is “What are you doing here?” A friendly Grade 1 model is lost in the jungle, and immediately joins the team. Ensign Stansted, a security officer, somehow got separated from the team. He’s back now! Korgal, the Klingon lieutenant activates, moving towards a nearby encounter marker, but not close enough to activate it.
Dr. McCoy heads off towards another marker. Like Spock, he’s Observant, and soon discovers a clue! Tricorder readings indicate that the energy signature is strongest in this direction. (This is the first of three clues needed to discover the path to the source.)
The rest of the turn (out of sequence) has the remaining Klingons moving into the jungle towards encounter markers, getting closer to the Enterprise crew. Kirk uses his Voice of Command twice, first to allow Ensign Heathrow to move (he promptly gets entangled in the jungle), then to make Ensign Stansted move. Finally, Kirk moves. No one can activate any more encounter markers, and no one else gets entangled.
Turn 2: The Enterprise crew retains initiative. McCoy moves and activates an encounter: it’s an ambush! A Klingon soldier appears behind McCoy and immediately fires, but McCoy manages to dodge aside. Ensign Heathrow fires at the Klingon lieutenant, inflicting one wound!
One of the Klingons meets one of the more dangerous plants on Hubbard’s World: a Deathspitter, so named for its ability to spit death. It immediately does so, dissolving the screaming Klingon into a puddle of goo with its caustic digestive juices.
Kirk uses Voice of Command to command Ensign Stansted to act; he triggers another ambush, this time with fatal consequences. The dirty Klingon shoots him right in the back, and Ensign Stansted’s brief tenure with the landing party comes to an end! Another Klingon finds the second clue: More tricorder readings indicate the energy is this way!
Kirk activates and shoots the Klingon that took a backshot at McCoy, vaporizing him instantly. Spock moves, but doesn’t do much else. Finally, two Klingons team up to take down the Deathspitter, as neither one wants to end up like their friend.
Turn 3: The Klingons gain initiative. Korgal moves towards cover and fires at Ensign Heathrow, killing him! Sadly, that accounts for all the Starfleet security officers in the landing party. Spock stumbles into some quicksand and begins to sink. He’ll have to pass a Brawn test to get out on his own, because the only person close enough to assist him is a Klingon soldier! He shoots Spock instead, causing one wound! McCoy and a Klingon soldier exchange fire, but neither one hits the other.
Captain Kirk sprints towards Korgal, trusting in good old-fashioned brawling to get the job done. He takes a Heroic Action to charge the lieutenant, but it doesn’t go well for him. Kirk falls victim to the Klingon’s Dirty Tricks, which gives Korgal an extra die to roll in Melee. Kirk is bested this round and takes a wound!
Turn 4: The Klingons get initiative, and Korgal must act first. He’s locked in melee with Kirk, so it’s 23rd century fisticuffs right out of the gate. Kirk rolls two 10’s, which not only beats the Klingon’s roll, it increases the strength of the attack by 4! The Klingon lieutenant falls below the double hand chop of Captain Kirk! Then, Kirk acts, firing at the Klingon who is facing down McCoy. He rolls yet another natural 10, increasing the attack strength and vaporizing the Klingon soldier! (That’s why he’s the Captain.)
Spock passes his Brawn test easily and extricates himself from the quicksand, but the Klingon fires at him again, causing another wound. Spock is KO’ed! McCoy finds nothing of interest when he finally gets close to an encounter marker.
Another Klingon blunders into another Deathspitter, with similar results as last time. The Klingon’s Wilhelm scream quickly turns into more of a gurgle as his whole body is reduced to essential salts and amino acids. The final Klingon sprints towards the center of the board, where one of the last two encounter markers is located. Could it be the last clue?
Turn 5: Spock fails his Will test to recover, so he’s still out cold. The Klingons get initiative. The one who moved last takes cover and shoots at Captain Kirk, causing a wound. Kirk only has 1 wound left! Kirk returns fire and kills the Klingon. The sole remaining Klingon fires at the Deathspitter, rolling exceedingly well. Well enough to kill it, in fact. Then he continues his movement towards the encounter marker in the bottom corner of the board. Dr. McCoy moves towards Kirk to administer medical aid, but doesn’t get close enough.
Turn 6: Spock once again fails to pass his Will test and remains unconscious. The Klingon gets initiative again, after a truly abysmal roll by Starfleet. He moves closer to the encounter marker in the corner, betting all his chips on it being the last clue. Captain Kirk activates the encounter marker in the center. It turns out to be nothing, which means the Klingon is going to discover the last clue and likely win the scenario, unless he is stopped! McCoy moves closer to Kirk, but that’s about all he can do…
Turn 7: Spock remains unconscious! The Enterprise crew (what’s left of it, anyway) gains initiative. Kirk uses Voice of Command to order McCoy to fire on the Klingon. Despite rolling a natural 10, McCoy misses! (The Klingon rolled a 10 on his Dodge, which resulted in a tie.) The Klingon can’t reach the encounter marker, so he fires at Kirk. He hits! Kirk goes down!
Turn 7: Spock fails his Will test AGAIN. Kirk fails his Quick Recovery test. Both remain unconscious. On the last turn, it’s just Dr. McCoy and the last Klingon. McCoy takes his (thematically appropriate) action to revive Kirk, but the Klingon has more than enough time to discover the final clue and make his escape.
Victory to the Klingons!
The hiss of a hypospray preceded Kirk’s return to consciousness by several seconds. His eyes fluttered open. Instantly alert, he tried to stand, only to be firmly pushed prone.
“Easy, Jim,” McCoy said. “You’re not there yet.”
“Bones!” Kirk sat up anyway, ignoring his doctor. “The Klingons-“
“Got away,” McCoy said. “With Spock.”
“We have to go after him!”
“How convenient for you,” said a sneering voice. “for here he is.” Korgal and several Klingons surrounded the pair, disruptors drawn. Two of them held Spock between them. The Vulcan was bound and unconscious.
“Take them,” ordered Korgal.
Analysis: This was a dramatic game! The final clue was the last encounter marker activated, so the encounter deck was fully exhausted. It didn’t go very well for Starfleet; despite having better quality forces, they were just outnumbered. The Klingon ambushes really gave them an advantage, both with the free attacks and additional forces.
Although we were pretty good about making the recovery rolls for Spock, we forgot all about Korgal. As a Grade 2 model, he was entitled to recovery rolls too. Also, I’m pretty sure we forgot to roll for entanglements due to Dense Foliage most of the time.
The next scenario was supposed to be the last of the campaign, but in true Fantastic Worlds/.45 Adventure fashion, we need to play a “Captured” scenario first, as all the heroes have been taken prisoner.
Check back soon for “Captured!” (I couldn’t think of another title.)
Captain’s Log: Stardate 1315.9: We have received word that Federation Outpost Laertes, a science station on the newly-discovered Hubbard’s World in the Klingon neutral zone, has gone silent. We arrived in the system to discover a Klingon battle cruiser in orbit around the planet. Our repeated hails to the outpost remain unanswered. Of course, the Klingons deny any knowledge of the outpost’s fate and would like us to leave. Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy and I, accompanied by Ensigns Gatwick and Heathrow from Starfleet security, are beaming down to the planet’s surface to investigate. Chief Engineer Scott has been given command of Enterprise in my absence.
Outpost Laertes looked abandoned. Vines and creepers already encroached on the small clearing where the science team’s supplies still lay neatly stacked in crates and barrels. The jungle seemed poised to quickly reclaim the ground where the Federation outpost stood. A standard Starfleet communications array, clearly damaged and inoperative, sat atop the basic, prefab building that served as both laboratory and living quarters to the missing scientists.
Spock regarded his tricorder. “Fascinating.”
Kirk and McCoy traded glances, but the Vulcan didn’t elaborate. “Well, don’t keep us in suspense, Spock,” said the Captain. “What is it?”
“Life sign readings are overwhelmingly vegetable in origin. I estimate some 97.56%”
McCoy’s uneasy gaze took in the vast jungle around them. “You don’t say. That’s fascinating, all right.”
“There is no trace of the science team,” continued Spock, coolly ignoring the doctor, “at least not in the immediate area.”
Kirk whirled and focused his attention where McCoy indicated. Four bipedal, plantlike creatures began to shamble out of the surrounding jungle. They looked like walking flowers, but much more menacing. They began to converge on the clearing.
“It’s like the jungle is coming alive,” said McCoy.
“Incorrect, Doctor,” said Spock. “These beings were certainly alive prior to our arrival, and did not spontaneously animate, as you suggest.”
McCoy flushed angrily. Before he could respond, Kirk stepped forward. “I am Captain James T. Kirk of the United Federation of Planets. We come in peace and mean you no harm.” In response, one of the plant-things ejected a stream of liquid in Kirk’s direction. He quickly stepped aside as it splashed on one of the supply crates nearby. Immediately, it began to smoke and hiss as the outer casing began to dissolve.
“Well, that’s darn rude,” said McCoy.
“Rude perhaps, though likely unintentionally so,” said Spock. “There is no indication that attempts at verbal communication should be effective, or that these beings possess any sense of hearing, at least not in the way we understand.” The plant things crept closer. “Phasers on stun, Captain?”
“When was the last time you stunned a houseplant, Spock?” asked McCoy. The Vulcan raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.
“Let’s not do anything we regret,” said Kirk, adjusting his phaser. “Low heat setting should be enough to show them we can defend ourselves if need be.”
Scenario: The Enterprise crew beams down to the site of the science outpost to find it deserted. They must search for clues to discover what happened to the science team. While they do so, they are attacked by some of the plant creatures of Hubbard’s World. Meanwhile, a Klingon spy is hiding near the camp, hoping to learn everything he can before he makes his escape, both about the Federation technology that now lies abandoned and about the landing party from the Enterprise.
Victory Conditions: The Enterprise crew must find three clues in order to discover what happened to the science team and in order to discover the strange energy readings. For every clue the Enterprise team discovers, the Klingon spy automatically gets one piece of information that is of value to his superiors. Once all clues have been found, the first team to move all the surviving models off the nearest board edge wins the scenario. (Only the Klingon spy needs to leave the board for the Klingon player to end the scenario.)
The Enterprise crew beams down to the science outpost.
Turn 1: The Enterprise crew gains initiative. McCoy activates first, and heads immediately towards the building. He activates the encounter marker there and discovers a clue: the remains of a Federation science officer, Ensign Jorgensen, one of the botanists assigned to the science team. He’s been partially dissolved. McCoy passes his Will check, and as a result he doesn’t have to spend next turn throwing up. One of the plant creepers spits its corrosive liquid at Ensign Gatwick, but misses him by a country mile.
Spock activates and heads into the jungle. He passes his Brawn check and is not entangled by the dense foliage. He activates an encounter marker (no effect). Another plant creeper spits at Spock, but the Vulcan ducks aside. Kirk uses his ability, Voice of Command, to make Ensign Gatwick act next. Gatwick fires at a shambling plant creature, but fails to hit.
A plant creeper creeps closer. Kirk shows Gatwick how it’s done. He steps forward and blasts one of the shambling plant creatures that spit at his first officer, killing it. Ensign Heathrow takes aim at an approaching plant creature, but he misses.
Turn two starts off with one of the plant creepers spitting its caustic juices all over Ensign Gatwick, who lets out a Wilhelm scream and dies horribly. Oh, the humanity!
Kirk uses his Voice of Command ability again, this time to allow Ensign Heathrow to go first. He spends a Hero Point, takes a deep breath, and vaporizes the nearest plant creeper to his position.
The plant creeper nearest to Dr. McCoy attacks, but the doctor has no intention of ending up like poor Jorgensen. The plant misses, McCoy returns fire and kills it. Kirk fires at the plant creeper that killed Ensign Gatwick and kills it, too. Spock heads deeper into the jungle and activates another encounter marker. Another clue! Tricorder readings indicate a strange energy coming from farther off in the jungle. All the vegetation on the planet seems imbued with this strange energy. Did the science team go investigate?
Turn 3: No plant creepers remain, so the Enterprise crew has the run of the board. Ensign Heathrow heads off into the jungle, but fails his Brawn test and gets entangled in the thick vegetation before going too far.
Dr, McCoy stumbles directly into a slumbering plant beast! This one’s huge, and it’s not happy!
The Plant Beast wastes no time. It swats Dr. McCoy hard, knocking him back and inflicting one wound!
McCoy is down, but not out. Spock activates next, moving back into the clearing and firing his phaser. He hits the Plant Beast squarely, inflicting a wound. The Plant Beast barely feels it! Kirk fires at the Plant Beast, wounding it; then immediately spends 2 Hero Points to take a Heroic Action, charging forward and firing again for another wound! Now the Plant Beast takes notice!
Turn 4: The Plant Beast gets initiative and charges Kirk, but Kirk spends another Hero Point and manages to evade the Beast’s grasping tendrils. Spock fires again but misses; McCoy tries to administer aid to himself but is too stunned and fails his roll. Kirk fires at point-blank range and finally kills the huge Plant Beast. Ensign Heathrow manages to extricate himself from the clinging foliage, but blunders into a spore cloud and is knocked unconscious for 2 turns!
Turn 5: Once again, with no opposition, the Enterprise crew has board control. McCoy moves into the jungle to revive Ensign Heathrow. He is successful! Spock and Kirk likewise enter the jungle, heading for encounter markers. Spock finds nothing, but Kirk discovers a final clue: the signs of several humanoids passing into the jungle is a clear indication that the science team went in search of the strange energy readings. The vegetation seems to have grown back abnormally fast. If not for their tricorders, the crew may have missed the science team’s tracks altogether!
At that very moment, the Klingon spy makes his move! Armed with the information on the Enterprise crew and their plans to seek the energy source themselves, he quickly attempts to race back to his superiors!
Turn 6: The Klingon spy gains initiative and flees into the jungle. He passes his Brawn test and is not entangled, but is slowed by the dense foliage. Spock activates and attempts to flank him. He fires at the Klingon, but misses. Kirk once again uses his Voice of Command to order Ensign Heathrow to pursue. The Ensign gives chase and fires, but he misses! Kirk all-out sprints into the clearing, trying to get as close to the Klingon as he can. He spends two Hero Points to take another Heroic Action, and fires, but he misses his mark! (Looks like they all need to go back to Starfleet marksman school!) McCoy chases after Ensign Heathrow, but gets entangled in the brush.
Turn 7: The bad luck continues for Starfleet this turn. In a last-ditch effort, Kirk commands Ensign Heathrow to take the shot! Sadly, the Ensign misses again, which allows the Klingon to slip away into the jungle!
Victory to the Klingons!
Analysis: The rules changes I made worked well and sped things up considerably. Not having to roll for wound location and keep track of deteriorating abilities made each shot count.
My first thought was that the scenario favors the Klingon player, since the Klingons only need to move one model off the board to win. Additionally, until the spy is revealed, Starfleet takes all the lumps from the plant creatures. But, considering the Starfleet player can just shoot the spy and win by default, this balances things out a bit. Turns out in my game Starfleet got the yips when it counted most and missed the Klingon with every shot!
I built the characters using a variety of archetypes from both Fantastic Worlds and .45 Adventure 2nd Edition, which was the core rules engine I used for the game mechanics. The Special Abilities listed are taken with my rules changes in mind, so nothing that would require wound location or stat changes. I also changed “Ray Gun” to “Phaser” and “Blade” to “Melee”, purely for thematic reasons.
Captain Kirk (Grade 3): DR 5 Brains 4 Will 4 Brawn 3 Guts 10 Phaser 4 Melee 6 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Brawler +2d10, Pugilist +1, Leadership, Tactics +1d10, Nerves of Steel +2, Voice of Command, Quick Recovery, Heroic Action
Mr. Spock (Grade 2): DR 5 Brains 6 Will 5 Brawn 5 Guts 7 Phaser 3 Melee 3 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Genius +2, Observant, Immune to Fear, Incredible Will +1, Nerve Pinch (Dirty Tricks), Undying Loyalty, Well-Prepared
Dr. McCoy (Grade 2): DR 4 Brains 5 Will 5 Brawn 3 Guts 8 Phaser 3 Melee 3 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Genius +1, Leadership, Medical Knowledge, Nerves of Steel +2, Observant, Undying Loyalty
Starfleet Security (Grade 1): DR 4 Brains 2 Will 2 Brawn 3 Guts 6 Phaser 3 Melee 2 Dodge 2 Speed 5 Sharpshooter +1d10, Tactics +1d10, Devotion, Nerves of Steel +1
Klingon Spy (Grade 1) DR 4 Brains 2 Will 3 Brawn 4 Guts 4 Phaser 2 Melee 3 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Brawler +1d10, Ferocious, Fencing +1d10, Bruiser +1
Up next: Race to the Source!
I decided since I have all these Modiphius Star Trek miniatures, I should play something with them. This left me with the task of finding a set of rules conducive to Star Trek skirmish gaming. Modiphius has their own rules, callled Red Alert, for just this sort of thing; but I find it to be a cumbersome system that requires familiarity with their roleplaying game (which I have, but still…) I looked into a few other options, like using Osprey’s Black Ops (fail) and Pulp Alley (I only perused the starter rules, but it seemed like too much work for Trek). None of them really captured what I was looking for: simple rules that allow for heroic acts and can capture the feel of Star Trek.
Then I remembered Fantastic Worlds, which is the pulp sci-fi version of Rattrap’s .45 Adventure. I haven’t played .45 Adventure in a long time, but I love it lots. After I dug out my copy of Fantastic Worlds I knew I had what I needed. I made some rules changes (primarily to combat) to help speed everything along.
The rules I changed were really quite simple. .45 Adventure has a detailed combat system that involves wound location and deteriorating statistics based on damage received. For example, you get shot in the arm, your shooting and brawling abilities go down; you get shot in the legs, your movement speed decreases, etc. The better your character, the higher his stats and the more wound boxes he has; therefore wounds have less of an effect on heroic characters and a greater effect on scrubs.
For my game, this was a bit more bookkeeping than I wanted to deal with. I decided a model has a number of wounds equal to its rank and damage resistance (DR) commensurate with their abilities, and that wound location doesn’t matter. If a character is wounded, he loses a wound. Rank 3 and Rank 2 characters are KOed when they lose their last wound; Rank 1 scrubs aren’t so lucky: they’re dead (unless they are supposed to be KOed). This makes combat a lot faster and more deadly, but requires a lot less effort to keep track of a character round-to-round. Heroic characters ( like Kirk) may have access to abilities that allow them to shrug off and/or heal wounds, or to act regardless of them, but Joe Redshirt is probably going to die. It’s the Trek way.
The tradeoff is that a lot of special abilities are based around wound location, such as Supreme Effort, which allows a model to use his starting stats for a wound location for a turn (regardless of how badly damaged that location is); or Dead Shot, which improves your chances of hitting a specific location. Since I scrapped wound location, none of the models could use these; which somewhat limited the selection of skills I had access to. Each location also has its own Damage Resistance value. It’s generally easier to wound someone if you hit them in the head as opposed to hitting their arm, for example. I scrapped that too, and just assigned a blanket DR to an entire model. The more important or tough the model is, the more DR it has.
I was ready to boldly go. I just needed a compelling story. So…
Hubbard’s World (or Q’uvakh, as it is known in Klingon) is a lush, jungle-covered M-Class planet in the midst of the Klingon/Federation Neutral Zone. No one can say with certainty who discovered it first (although Dr. William Hubbard took the liberty of naming it after himself); however, both the Federation and The Klingon Empire have staked a claim. Under the provisions of the Organian Treaty, both powers are allowed to develop the planet for non-military use to the best of their ability, while ensuring any native species are not interfered with.
Several months ago, the Federation sent a science team to set up an outpost to observe the new life on Hubbard’s World, but soon lost contact with them. The U.S.S. Enterprise was dispatched to investigate the disappearance of Dr. Hubbard and his team. When they arrived in the sector they discovered a Klingon battle cruiser orbiting the planet. Naturally, suspicion immediately fell upon the Klingons; but they denied any knowledge of the science team’s disappearance.
The Klingons explained that while the Federation claimed to be interested in scientific research, the Klingon Empire had more practical concerns: their intent was to cultivate the world for food production, as (unbeknownst to the Federation) the Empire was in the midst of famine. They loudly insisted that they had no reason to interfere with any scientific expedition and resented the implication they would do so. They warned the Enterprise to quickly conduct their investigation and be on their way, as they considered this larger Federation presence to be an act of aggression.
Of course, the Federation was telling the truth about their motives. The Klingons were lying…
Up next: Hubbard’s World, Part 1: Outpost Laertes!
When we last left our intrepid adventurers Bridget Rourke and Mo Shrevnitz, they had managed to obtain evidence that the Jade Hood was behind the strange disappearances of ordinary citizens in New Commerce. Bridget was able to snap a photo of some of the Jade Hood’s goons loading some suspicious chemicals onto trucks in the Warehouse District. A shipping label from the Phillips Chemical Consortium was prominently displayed in the photo.
Bridgit went to alert the police and get the necessary warrants for a raid on the chemical plant, while Mo met up with New Commerce’s vigilante crimefighter, The Gargoyle, for a raid of their own. Meanwhile, the nefarious Jade Hood, aware that his schemes are threatened, sends a crew of goons to the chemical plant with orders to blow it sky-high…
Scenario 2: Raid on the Phillips Chemical Consortium
Actually, this is technically Scenario 3, as Scenario 2 is a scenario to be run in the event the heroes are captured. The scene is an industrial complex, with lots of machinery and crates to hide behind. This gave me a good chance to break out my Aftermath Modular Terrain. I’m glad I bought in on this Kickstarter, as it’s really some great stuff. I bought in for $100, and the stuff shown below isn’t even half of what I got. The machinery was made by a fellow TMPer, Russell95403, and it works well for this scenario.
Basically, the good guys, Mo and The Gargoyle, need to find two key pieces of evidence and get out of the warehouse before the bad guys blow it up. The bad guys need to plant two time bombs and detonate them. The heroes get extra Victory Points if they can disarm the bombs or prevent the bad guys from planting them at all.
This was the initial setup. Once again, my buddy Matt took the part of the heroes. Opposing them, played by me, were two Grade 2 Enforcers, Chopper Murphy and Frankie the Fish; and two Grade 1 Gat Men, Limey Joe and Pete the Dentist (you don’t want to know how he got that nickname).
The scenario relies heavily on encounter markers. There are 12 in all, 6 for the heroes and 6 for the villains. Heroes can’t activate villain encounters and vice-versa. The interesting part is the type of encounter (hero or villain) is only revealed when the encounter marker falls within line-of-sight of one of the models on the board. The model still has to come in contact with it to activate it. Among other things, the pieces of evidence and the bomb locations are encounters which must be resolved, which means that each side is trying to get to their encounter markers as quickly as possible, while dodging the bullets and fists of the opposing team!
On the first turn, both sides rushed in, trying to get to their encounter markers as quickly as possible. The villains activated one of theirs: a Tong Assassin! Not content to trust the safety of his schemes to his henchmen, the Jade Hood hired a Tong Assassin to ensure that the heroes don’t leave the warehouse alive. The assassin enters play through on of the side entrances.
Soon after, Chopper Murphy finds one of the ideal locations to plant a time bomb. He sets it for two turns and prepares to move out of the blast radius.
The Gargoyle knows he only has moments to act. He charges forward, guns blazing, and manages to wound Chopper Murphy. The crazed machine-gun maniac fires back, but the hasty expenditure of a Hero Point saves the Gargoyle from being riddled with bullets! Meanwhile, Mo runs at the other goons, but is intercepted by the Tong Assassin!
The Gargoyle rushes to the ticking bomb, and, heedless of his own safety, attempts to disarm it! He succeeds! Chopper Murphy, slack-jawed at the Gargoyle’s boldness, opens fire again; this time wounding the Gargoyle. But the crimefighter isn’t down yet!
With a flurry of hands the Tong Assassin leaps at Mo, delivering the 1000 needle strike! Mo barely feels it, and delivers two punishing body blows to the assassin. The Tong assassin drops like a wet bag of dirt and doesn’t move!
Pete the Dentist sneaks around a piece of machinery and plugs the Gargoyle in the back! The Gargoyle, still reeling from Chopper Murphy’s machine gun rain, goes down!
Mo takes this opportunity to charge Pete the Dentist, with predictable results. He levels Pete without breaking a sweat. I’m beginning to think no one has a chance against Mo, at lest not in hand-to-hand!
The other two thugs, Frankie the Fish and Limey Joe, activate another encounter marker and find the other prime location to plant a bomb. Frankie sets the timer for three turns.
Moe triggers an encounter, still hoping to find a piece of evidence. Instead, Bridget Rourke arrives with two Rookie cops! It’s not looking good for the bad guys!
It looks even worse on the next turn, when The Gargoyle makes his Will roll and revives. Taking aim from the ground, The Gargoyle puts a slug between Chopper Murphy’s eyes! Then he gets shakily to his feet, scanning the warehouse…
Limey Joe runs across the warehouse floor, taking a shot at Bridget Rourke on the way out. He misses. Frankie the Fish decides he’d better get out of the warehouse before it blows up, and runs off the board. But The Gargoyle spends another Hero point and sprints across the room towards the time bomb. He defuses it with seconds to spare!
Well, this turned out to be a pretty decisive victory for the good guys. The villains could only win if the bombs went off, and neither one did. The bad guys failed to kill or capture any of the heroes, even with the help of the Tong assassin. The heroes got extra Victory Points for defusing the bombs, but they could only win by finding the evidence, which they didn’t do. But since Frankie and Limey Joe fled the warehouse, the heroes had all the time in the world to search it. We decided the heroes found the evidence they needed after all.
And the Jade Hood? Well, let’s just say he wasn’t pleased. Frankie and Limey Joe won’t be returning for any further scenarios in the campaign…
I was so excited when I saw Pulp Figures recent “Masked Avengers” set, that I had to rush out and buy them. Actually, I didn’t rush anywhere. I clicked and ordered them. The set comes with two more figures, but I was most interested in the “Masked Crime Fighter” shown above, along with his “Aide”. I picked up that 1/50 scale “Rolling Arsenal” in anticipation of their arrival. It’s a tad small, but not enough to matter to me, seeing how they all look SO DAMN COOL together!!! I can’t wait to use them all in a .45 Adventure game soon!
“And now, to protect the rights and lives of decent citizens, rides The Green Hornet!”
Just a short update on my Old West, south-of-the-border town, Mescalero. Over the past month or so I completed work on a couple of two-story structures. The basic process is the same as in Part One, but here are the differences.
As you can see above, I constructed the frame of the buildings the usual way. I knew I would need stairs to reach the second level, and making them out of foamboard seemed to be pretty time consuming. Instead, I used a hot wire cutter to sculpt them out of insulation foam. Then I just glued them to the side of the building. Because they’re adobe buildings, I wasn’t all that concerned about uneven edges or the less-than perfect rise and run of the staircase. And neither should you be.
After applying the wood filler, the buildings looked like this. I constructed them so the roof could lift off of both stories, allowing access to both levels inside. You’ll note I also made a large one-story building and some ruined walls at the same time. Why not?
These are the finished buildings in this wave. I made the doors out of balsa wood and flocked the cork bases with sand and PVA, plus I added some dead static grass to them. I liked the look so much that I went back and added the static grass to all the Wave 1 buildings too.
I’m still working on the Church and Stables. When everything is done, I’ll post a photo of the whole town, including the ruins. More updates soon!
Since I bought .45 Adventure 2nd Edition, I’ve been itching to run some Pulp games with the new rules. In accordance with my new play style, I thought a miniatures campaign over the course of several weeks would be a good way to introduce all my friends to .45 Adventure while not necessarily needing to have them all present at once. It’s easy to jump into an episodic pulp game at any point, as each scenario doesn’t require much of a backstory.
With that in mind I decided to run Death Soldiers of the Jade Hood, the published campaign for .45 Adventure 1st Edition. It will take a bit of fiddling to get it to run smoothly in the new edition, but I don’t think it’s beyond my abilities. I will give a brief synopsis of each scenario (including special rules), the full After Action Report, and any major differences between 1st and 2nd Edition that I encounter along the way.
The basic plot of the campaign is as follows: The nefarious Jade Hood, criminal mastermind of the city of New Commerce, has hatched a diabolical scheme to turn ordinary, unsuspecting citizens into bloodthirsty maniacs. He hopes to use his mind-controlled army to take over the city once and for all. Standing in his way is Ace Reporter Bridget Rourke, her faithful friend and ex-prizefighter Mo Shrevnitz, and the enigmatic vigilante of New Commerce…the Gargoyle!
Scenario 1: The Waterfront Mystery
The board is set up as shown above. It’s a warehouse district at night, which limits visibility to 12″. Four streetlamps shed light in a 3″ radius. In the middle of the board is a white truck. The bad guys are loading the truck with crates (represented by the tokens) of chemicals that the Jade Hood needs to make his Death Soldier formula. Bridget Rourke has to get behind the truck and snap a photo of the crates being loaded, then get off the board with her evidence. The bad guys need to stop her or at least prevent her from snapping a picture and get away with the crates. My buddy Matt decided to play the heroes, leaving me with the bad guys. He started with Bridget Rourke (placing her on the left table edge, above). Mo started off the board until his encounter card was drawn. I started with 2 Grade 1 Brunos (Flanagan and Baldy), and 4 Grade 1/2 Mooks. I put two of the Mooks on guard duty and armed them with pistols. The other two Mooks were armed with a knife and club, respectively, and they were loading the truck.
A couple of turns into the game, the Mooks have successfully loaded the truck with a few crates. Bridget has managed to avoid being spotted thus far, but she can’t get anywhere near the truck without being seen. A deck of cards is used to simulate random events, such as Mo arriving, random guard movement, and an opportunity to snap a picture. I was a little unclear as to whether or not we should shuffle drawn cards back into the deck, but I decided to reshuffle as there were ten cards and only two chances to take a picture. (What if we drew the picture cards early? Does that mean there’s no chance for the heroes to win?)
A few turns later, Bridget is spotted. She sprints across the street, trying to avoid the bad guys. Flanagan, Baldy and one of the Mook guards are in hot pursuit. The Mook fires his pistol at her, but it jams. Flanagan gets close but can’t tackle her this turn. The other Mooks continue to load the truck.
Suddenly, Mo arrives just in the nick of time! He sees his friend Bridget is in trouble and rushes in, meaty fists swinging!
On his activation next turn, Mo charges into combat. Now, here’s how 2nd Edition really differs from 1st: combat runs much more smoothly. Most models roll one die and add their Shiv score, keeping the result. Mo, however, is an ex-prize fighter, and he knows how to land a few punches. He has One-Two Punch and two levels of Brawler, which means he rolls four dice and keeps two. Plus, he charged into combat, so he gets to roll an additional die, bring his total to five dice, keeping 2 results. Yeah, Mo is pretty tough.
Among other results, Mo rolls two 10’s. This makes it impossible for Flanagan not to get hit and increases the strength of Mo’s fists from 7 (which is already stronger than most folks) to 9 (which is as powerful as a demolition charge) for two hits to Flanagan’s torso. Since 9 is three times stronger than Flanagan’s defense rating of 3, Moe does three wounds to Flanagan’s torso. Twice.
Being Grade 1, Flanagan only has one wound. So, Flanagan pretty much craps out his bones and keels over.
The next turn, Bridget runs away, still trying to get to the back of the truck. At this point, I pretty much gave up with the random event draw, as most of the results weren’t making sense. (The guards had been roused already and were pursuing Bridget, so it wouldn’t make too much sense that they would suddenly get the urge for a smoke and randomly move off.) On his activation, Baldy charged Mo and tried to rough him up, but Mo wasn’t having any of it. Predictably, he floored Baldy with little effort.
A couple of turns later, the pistol-armed Mooks ganged up and fired on Mo, but failed to hit him. Mo closed the gap, and using his Sweep ability, knocked both of them into next week with one punch!
Meanwhile, Bridget moved closer to the truck’s rear end. Since we were no longer using the random deck, I ruled that if she could get into contact with the back of the truck, she could attempt to take a picture. The Mooks loading the truck finally decided to drop their crates and get involved. They moved towards Bridget with murderous intent, seeking to silence the nosy broad once and for all!
Bridget popped the flash on her camera, taking a picture of the incriminating chemicals and blinding the Mooks in the process. Despite having their Shiv score reduced to 1, the knife-wielding Mook managed to land a vicious hit on the Ace Reporter, and would have gutted her like a mackerel! But Bridget Rourke didn’t live so long covering crime in New Commerce without being Lucky. Matt spent two Hero points and Bridget managed to miraculously avoid the blow altogether. Now, however, she was locked in hand-to-hand combat with two armed Mooks, and while Mo was on his way, he wasn’t there yet…
Next round, Mo ran to help his friend Bridget. Bridget couldn’t leave combat without taking some free hits from her assailants, so she craftily raised her camera again and ignited the flash, once again blinding the Mooks…and Mo.
Later, Bridget’s blurry picture was developed. It showed the last few seconds of consciousness for the two Mooks, and incidentally fulfilled a bonus victory condition: she got a picture of combat taking place!
When their eyes cleared, Mo was locked in combat with the two Mooks. Another Sweep, and another two unconscious Mooks. Bridget and Mo were able to exit the board with proof of the Jade Hood’s chemical designs and the fight. A clear victory for the heroes! That’s a wrap, boys!
Rules Synopsis and Differences:
There were a couple of rules differences I noticed between 1st and 2nd Edition. In 1st, Night limits visibility to 6″, whereas in 2nd, it’s 12″. This vastly increased the Spot distance for the guards. In the published scenario, spotting was handled with another deck, giving a 50% chance to not spot, a 25% chance to attempt to spot with a penalty, and a 25% chance to attempt to spot with no penalty. It doesn’t detail the penalty or what happens when the enemy is spotted, so I just threw out this whole mechanic and ruled that once a model was spotted, every model on the board was aware of it.
Also, once a model is spotted, it can’t ever hide again unless it has a special ability allowing it to do so. Bridget didn’t have any such ability, so once she was seen she was effectively screwed until Mo arrived.
Speaking of Mo, he clearly outclassed everyone on the table in combat. In the last edition’s combat system, Mo was nowhere near as tough. The new system really makes a difference.
Lastly, there are no Grade 1/2 models in 2nd Edition. Basically, they made Grade 1 models much weaker and did away with Grade 1/2 models altogether. If I was playing 1st edition 45 Adventure, this would have been a bit more of a challenge for Mo and Bridget, as the bad guys would have been able to stand up to Mo a bit longer. I played the next scenario the same way (coming soon) and it was even more one-sided. From now on, when converting from 1st to 2nd edition when I see Grade 1/2 models, I’ll make them Grade 1; and when I see Grade 1 models, I will make them Grade 2. That way it won’t be as much of a cakewalk for the heroes.
Stay tuned for the next thrilling episode, coming soon!
I had the week off last week, so I decided to devote some time to terrain-making. I was inspired by the awesome series of Youtube videos by The Terrain Tutor, which I had been watching at my desk the week prior. Hey, I can productively waste time at work like nobody else. In particular, I was inspired by this video, which is a comprehensive guide to using foamboard. A lot of the tips I already knew, but there were a lot of things I didn’t know and I’m glad I watched it.
I recently decided I wanted to get into Old West skirmish gaming, and to that end I have purchased a bunch of cowboys from Blue Moon Manufacturing. Not sure what rules I’m going to use yet, but I’m leaning towards Blackwater Gulch, as it’s a free download and seems pretty easy to play. Another possibility is .45 Adventure, just because I love it so much. In their Thrilling Tales Quarterly magazine, volume 2, there was an article by a guy named “Grimm” on how to make quick adobe buildings. So, between Grimm and the Terrain Tutor, I figured I was well-prepared to start on a Mexican village, which I have decided to call Mescalero. (And yes, I know it’s an area in New Mexico and the name of an Apache tribe. So what?)
I figured I would share with you the process I used. Please note that between the two sources I mentioned above, there’s very little I did that was original or new. I’m not claiming to be an innovator when it comes to building terrain. But thought the time/process and end results might be of interest to all four of you who read this blog.
Here’s what I started with: in addition to black foamboard, I used a couple of steel rulers with cork backing, a few different types of razor knives, some Elmer’s glue and a heat gun. I traced some basic building templates on 5″x7″ index cards and cut them out.
I used the templates to trace patterns on the foamboard, then cut them out using the knives and rulers. The Terrain Tutor has some great tips on how to cut foamboard cleanly and evenly, especially in hard to reach places like doors and windows. I wasn’t too worried about getting precise cuts since I was making adobe walls.
Once this was done, I used a heat gun to heat up the corners so I could easily remove the paper backing of the foamboard, creating areas where the walls have cracked. Prior to this, I did not own a heat gun. I picked this one up at Home Depot for 20 bucks.
Once the paper is peeled back, it’s easy to sculpt a brick pattern onto the foam itself. I used this old butter knife.
Quick tip: Heat guns are not hair dryers. They get hot quickly and will melt the foam if you keep them on too long. Too long is more than a couple of seconds. Then you get something like this, above. Notice the bottom left corner, it melted away from the paper. Oh, they can also burn you, too, if you’re not careful, so watch where you put the tip when you’re finished.
Once everything is cut out and sculpted, I assembled the buildings using the Elmer’s glue. I secured them for a good bond using pins inserted into the joins, as well as this painter’s tape. Painter’s tape is great because the adhesive is pretty weak. It will hold the joins together, but it’s easy to peel off once you’re done.
Quick tip: although painter’s tape has a weak adhesive, that adhesive will get a lot stronger if you let it sit for a while, as anyone who has ever used it to paint a room will know. In other words, It’s fine to let it sit overnight, but you should remove it the next day. Letting it sit for a few days or a week will make it very difficult to remove in one piece and may damage your foamboard. (Of course, if you’re making adobe buildings like me, that might not be a big deal. See below.)
I deviated from Grimm on the next step. He recommends cutting your base out and wrapping it in textured wallpaper to create a floor. Then he mounts the building to the base. I didn’t have any textured wallpaper, but I did have some extra Mayhem tiles from World Works Games that I hadn’t used. Considering it was going to be the floor of a building, I thought I would just use those. You can see I made several buildings before proceeding to this step.
I traced the inside of the buildings onto the WWG tiles to get a template for the floors, then cut them out and glued them on with paper glue (somewhat stronger than Elmer’s) for a tight bond. You can see the results above. I also traced the inside of the building onto foamboard so I could make a ceiling.
Quick tip: Make sure you trace the inside of the building on the correct side. For example, if you’re making a ceiling, trace the inside top of the building, not the bottom. Don’t assume the floor is exactly the same dimensions as your ceiling. I know it should be, but it’s not, as unless you have a perfectly vertically-level join (which you won’t).
When that’s done, it’s time to give the adobe building it’s distinctive look. Here, too I deviated from Grimm’s instructions slightly. I used this awl I had laying around (I have no idea where I got it) to poke some holes in the walls a few centimeters below the top, then inserted some balsa wood as ceiling supports. I used my hobby saw to cut the balsa wood to about a 1″ length. If you don’t have balsa wood and don’t want to spend the whole 60 cents it costs to pick up a rod of this size, then you can cut the heads off some wooden matchsticks and use those. In fact, that was Grimm’s method, but I found the matchsticks I had on hand were too thin.
After that, attach your buildings to whatever you’re going to use as a base. I used cork tiles, as it’s easy to cut and shape. This next part gets messy, so be sure to wear latex or vinyl gloves. Using your fingers, spread a coating of wood filler or spackle over the building. Don’t worry about how messy it is, as adobe structures look rough. Make sure you avoid the areas you cut out and sculpted as you want those to show through later. I had both spackle and wood filler on hand, and I used both just to see the difference. Although the end results were much the same, I found that wood filler was easier to spread and work with, so I pretty much abandoned the spackle after the first building. But YMMV.
I decided not to use wood filler on the interior of the buildings, at least not these small ones. Instead I covered a few centimeters of the top interior, as this is the part that would be visible once the ceiling is in place. Remember when I said it wouldn’t be a big deal if you damaged the foamboard by waiting too long to remove the tape? It’s not, considering you’re covering the walls with wood filler and that will cover the tape, too. You can also leave the pins in, if you want.
Let it dry overnight. Then you’re ready to paint it. I used craft paint, and started by painting the walls a light brown color.
Once the brown dried, I drybrushed it with successively lighter shades of tan, ivory and eventually, very little white. I painted the “exposed” brick areas a dark brown color and added a wash of black to make the bricks stand out. Oh, and I also added a stovepipe to the roof with a bit of old metal tubing I had laying around forever, and inserted balsa wood doors. I scored the doors with a hobby knife to make individual planks, and painted them brown. You can see them in later pictures.
Once the walls were painted, I used a mixture of sand, ballast and wood flue to flock the bases. Then I painted the base brown, and built up the highlights with a lighter brown and ivory paint.
Quick tip: Don’t throw away your foamboard scraps. The piece above was made with some irregular leftovers. Put together, they make a good ruined adobe wall. I’ll be making more of these later.
I figured with the bases done, I could get creative by adding some things to them. I decided on some cacti. I bought this box of Pegasus Hobbies cacti for this purpose.
There’s enough bits in this box for over 60 little cacti (which is more than I’ll ever use). Painted up, they really look nice and add a bit of Old West flavor to the scenery. The box retails for $8.50, so not a bad deal.
I decided to make a well as a cool little flavor piece, or maybe even a game objective. I bought a couple of sheets of modelling plastic in a Spanish tile pattern at a hobby shop for about $6, and cut a bit to cover the well. Then I painted it with terracotta craft paint.
Here’s a picture of the finished well. The well itself is from the now defunct JR miniatures (which sucks…they made some great stuff!). The bucket was an accessory from an army toy.
Here’s the first batch of buildings in Mescalero. It didn’t take me very long to do…a few days between the cutting, gluing, filler application and painting. A fair amount of time was spent waiting for things to dry. As you can see, I added the balsa wood doors and painted them brown. Overall I’m pleased with the results.
What’s next? Well, I’m working on a few other buildings…a stables and a small church, complete with a bell tower and graveyard. I’d like the church to be the focal point of Mescalero. I’d also like to make some two story structures and maybe a couple more small buildings. I’m also toying with the idea of an outdoor mercado, and of course, more ruins. I’ll keep you all updated with more Mescalero as it takes shape.