Monday, November 9, 2020

Dungeon Saga: Dwarf Kings Quest Solo Play Pdfs


So I have started creating a set of pdf's which do the map and rule reveals for the Dungeon Saga Core game like I did for the Star Saga core game.  It is pretty late but they do not take that long to do since DS mission structures are simpler than those found in Star Saga which has lots of text to match different events during the game.  I will take some time to get through them all so check back occasional for updates for more of the Adventures from the Core game to be added.

The pdfs can be found here:

Currently they included the 2 Training Mission A,B and then missions 1 through 6.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Battletech Clan Invasion

So Catalyst Games Battletech Clan Invasion Kickstarter finally shipped Wave 1 rewards.  I late backed this and went with just Wave 1 stuff as I am just dipping the toes in and not going all in so to speak.  The Kickstarter came with a exclusive box but I sort of like the other box better.  Personally I was never much of a Clanner in the past as we mainly did Inner Sphere Mercenary stuff in the 3025-3050 era.  We were starting to get out of it by the time the Clan Invasion started initially and the Clan mechs were just so over powered in an Era before Battle Values that it did not seem right.

While it was fun to discover lost tech during the 3025+ era and integrate it into our mechs in a roleplaying type campaign structure, looking back on it I see it more as how FASA was trying to tweak the game.  Most mechs picked up considerable additional firepower either with better weapons or heat management but often the Armor or Speeds were only slightly increased.  This increased the carnage rate of the game and who does not like to see things go boom (as long as you are not in it). 

Clan Invasion just took this to a crazy level as they were just another step above.  If it was modern large corporate wargaming one would acuse the company of making unbalanced rules to sell more models but given that you would get like a 100 standees in the box of Reinforcements 2 it does not seem like there was a ton of money in it.  It might have had to do with the right issues that they were having with many of the 80's mech designs so they needed to make people really love these new mechs.

Anyway, Battletech has come full circle and is back to 3050 with a new clan invasion box which is an expansion box to the Game of Armored Combat box.  It is not a full game and does not come with the core game rules.  It comes with rules for the new technology that the inner sphere has access to by 3050 and the new clan technology of 3050.   So it has mech contrusction rules for both factions set at 3050 timeline compared to those for 3025 of the Game of Armored Combat Box.  It also has rules for the Elemental power suit infantry of the Clans as well as rules and discussion of the organization of clan units and their system of Honor.

Here are the contents of the kickstarter box.  You get 5 Clan Mechs, 2 Points of Elementals, 2 Double Sided Game Maps, Reference Sheet, Standee and Terrain Card Sheet, Clan Invasion Rulebook, Clan Invasion Fluff book, 2 dice, card set with Clan Pilots and Clan Alpha Strike cards, Large Double Sided Map of the Inner Sphere in 3025/3050, and one record sheet book that has both the Clan Mechs and record sheets for the 3050 versions of the mechs from the Beginner Box and the Game of Armored Combat box.  I would have liked also seen some new Alpha Strike cards for the 3050 versions of the Armored Combat Mechs as the lance packs generally have a 3025 on one side and 3050 version on the other side.

These are the Elementals.  Pretty nice looking and well scaled to the mechs.

Nova and Adder Mechs

Executioner and Grendal

 Timber Wolf (but always Mad Cat to me)

Now this set retails for 50 dollars while the Star Packs of 5 Clan Mechs are only like 25 or 30 so your are paying quite a bit for the other box components.  So you can get 2 Stars for this box which is probably a better buy if you are doing this with your friends and do not need multiple copies of the rules or already have those rules from other sources as they are not changed that I could see from one already in print. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Star Saga Solo Play PDFs

 I created a set of pdf's early in the year to improve solo play for Star Saga.  Essentially the pdfs use internal hyperlinks to keep as much secret from the players until they have to know.  So it only shows you the map one room at a time.  It shows you only the terminal options available when you select a terminal and it lets you know if an item needs a search roll or has nothing or something special for the mission when you select the item.

They can be found here:

If you have rules questions for the Core game, most of those are covered in this boardgame geek thread:

Friday, October 30, 2020

Dungeon Saga: Heroes of Dolgarth Quest

Heroes of Dolgarth Quest

So with the New version of Heroquest coming, I though I would give the game another look.  I did not play it as a kid since it came out well after we were played Advanced Dungeons and Dragons in the theater of the mind.  The price point for the crowd funding is quite high, the rules are to basic for my desires, and I already have quite a collection of Dungeon Crawl components so I thought I might use it as inspiration for a new Dungeon Saga campaign.

The purpose of this project is to pay homage to the Classic Heroquest Adventure Arc in a Dungeon Saga quest set without directly trying to map it in as a one to one copy.  To capture the feel of those missions in the game of Dungeon Saga is the goal and to help that happen some rules changes are made to the structure and preparation of the games.

The game is going to be designed for use with the Coop rules from the Adventurers Companion with the missions revealed in linked pdf format to maintain the surprises for the players for any twists of turns added to the game.

The following Rules additions or changes will be made:

Adventure Setup Changes:

Each mission will have details for setting up several decks in more detail than usually done in Dungeon Saga.  The Overlord Deck or Invisible Overlord Deck will provide instructions on how to construct those decks.   Two decks  for the treasures are created to draw from.  The Random Treasure deck is created for drawing based on the results of searching.  The Set Aside Treasure Deck is a collection of cards which might be used in the mission which can handy to have available when playing.  A trap token pile will need to be created as a described mix of blanks and specific trap types and the cards describing those trap rules should be collected for reference if the trap appears.

Search Action:

 A new Action is available to Heroes which is used to Search Furniture items on the board like chests, barrels, tables, etc.   Rooms or hallways are not search, only items are searched.  Neither the piece of furniture or Hero can be in enemy’s front arc.  Any object can only be searched once regardless of the result.  When searching a furniture piece, first check the Adventure rules to see if the item might have specific rules in the Adventure.  If not the Hero player rolls a die and consult the search table for the results.

Search Table:

1: Apply Adventures Wandering Monster Rule

2: Trap.  Draw a Trap Token and apply the associated card to heroes square.  If a blank is drawn, then nothing happens.

3: Nothing Found

4: 1 Silver Found

5: 1d6 Silver Found

6:  Draw from Random Treasure Deck 


Overlord Interrupt Usage:

 An overlord may use an Interrupt Command Card to open any unlocked or locked door currently on the map.  A warded Door cannot be opened in this way.  This will then cause the zone to be placed.  This can be done either between hero turns or during the overlord turn.  If the card has additional activations beyond 1 or the overlord has activations remaining from their normal allotment, then those activations can be used by any model now on the board.  The Invisible Overlord can use this option anytime the card played has the Interrupt keyword and there are not enough models on the board to use all the available Activations.  It will open the closest eligible door to the highest threat Hero based on the card drawn.

Energy Crystals Usage:

 The Heroes in these adventures are able to use energy crystal that they find searching or buy at the Market location to provide one time improvements of one or more dice to any opposed test by declaring that they with discard it before any dice are rolled.  Add the same number of dice as would be provided for a spell.   Note that if the crystals are created with the Crystallize spell then those crystals can only be used by the creator for magical tests so they should be kept separate from crystals found or purchased.


Unlocked Doors can appear in these missions, an Unlocked Door can be opened at the cost of 1 movement point while adjacent provided the character is not in the front arc of an enemy.  The area behind the door is built and all object placed then the character can continue his move if squares remain and take an action as normal.  A model may not open a door with Movement provided by a Feat.

Map Traps: 

Some Adventure Maps will list the location of traps.  Take a trap token from the pile and place it face down at the space indicated on the map.  Traps cover the square the token is in and all squares adjacent to that square.  A model moving into a square covered by a trap can either move normal or cautiously.  A model moving normally must roll a d6 each time they move into a square covered by the trap.  On a 1-3 the trap is triggered, reveal the token and apply the rules from the matching card to square the hero moved into.  Revealing an actual trap token that is not blank also ends the Heroes activation regardless of the result any tests from the trap card.  On a 4-6 he can continue moving.  If the Hero clears the trap squares without triggering the trap then the token is still in play and may be trigger by another Hero.  Heroes who do not trigger traps during their movement may take Actions normal even if they are still in a square covered by the trap but any movement to another square covered by the trap will require the same roll.

If a Hero decides to move cautiously around the trap, it costs 2 movement points per square to move but the trap is only trigger on a 1 instead of 1-3.  Models that are moving using a Feat or are forced to move do to another special rule (spell, ability) cannot move cautiously.   

Disarm Traps: 

If a model with Disarm Traps moves through trap covered squares they can add one to their die rolls.  This means that while moving cautiously they cannot trigger the trap.  To disarm the trap, the Hero must move adjacent to a covered square and then use an Action to Disarm the Trap.  They cannot be in the front arc of an enemy model.    Roll a d6.  On a 3-6, remove the trap counter.  Otherwise leave the counter in place.  Only one attempt maybe made by a character to disarm a trap.


Pdf's can be found here:


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Lost Patrol: Crypt Hunters Inspired Change

So GW came out with a new one box game called Crypt Hunters which bits the Fantasy Ultra Knight type guys against ghosts.  It uses the same hex style map structure as Lost Patrol and many other similarities.  It is not totally a reskin as they changed the Stats on the models and how they attacks are resolved but it is very similar.  It is not a bad value for the game as it has like 14 GW models for like 45 dollars including the game when the models sell separately for 55 dollars.

While the games are different, there was one change I saw that I thought could be applied immediately to Lost Patrol and totally change the way it played for the better.  This is a change to the turn structure.  In Lost Patrol second edition, the Scouts move and then new tiles are added or removed based on what they can now see.  This creates a problem that whenever a new tile is placed that is not straight to add another tile this becomes a possible spawn location.  This makes it very easy to spawn 3 genestealers directly next to a Scout every turn which means even optimally positioned Scouts are likely losing a scout half the tile.  Quickly it becomes roll a 6 or die as you lose your support and get isolated.

In Crypt Hunters, the new tile placement is at the start of the turn.  So the turn starts with placing new tiles, then the Knights move, then tiles are removed, then the ghosts act.  So if this is used in Lost Patrol, the new tiles are placed, then the scouts can move.  They get to decide if they push forward into new tiles which prevent spawning on those tiles or do they fight the stealers.  After removing the tiles which can no longer be seen after moving 2 tiles, the stealer player now needs to think about whether he wants to spawn models or move models after the progressing Scouts.  It is much harder to just stop the scouts as you cannot just drop 3 right in front of their path almost every time like before.  The stealers are more likely chasing the scouts through the jungle and using their movement across paths. 

I tried a game with these rules and while the scouts still lost, the Sergeant would have seen the dropship at the start of the next turn and it would have been in movement range if he could make two bramble moves.  I left all the carnage from the mission in the above picture.  You can see how the stealers followed the Scouts and then had to finish him off using a cross path attack.  If the curve had not been so tight, our scout Sergeant might have made it home.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Battletech: A Game of Armored Combat Contents

With the Clan Invansion Kickstarter shipping soon people grabbing that box at retail might need some Inner Sphere mechs to curb stomp.  Those can be found in this box along with everything you need to play some classic Battletech in 3025.

All the contents spread out nicely.  You get 8 mechs, so each side and have a lance with 1 light, 1 medium, 1 heavy, and  1 assault mech.

You get 8 mechwarrior cards if you want to not name your own pilots but instead use those provided.

You also get Alpha Strike cards for the more miniature wargame version of Battletech that is Alpha Strike.

 Background materials.  A second short story to go with the one in the beginner's box.

Full rulebook.  Honestly finding differences between these rules and the ones we played with like 30 years ago is not easy.  Partial cover is different.

Certainly looks nicer than the second edition book I had back in the day.

You get 8 stand ups and some tokens for modifying the maps along with the very important reference sheet.

They provide the mech sheets as a booklet but they have a free digital copy available online.  There are like 16 mechs in the book with most of the mechs have 2 variants.

Significantly more complicated maps than the one from the Beginner Box.

Commando and Locust

Shadowhawk and Wolverine which also appears in the Beginner box.

Thunderbolt and Catapult


Awesome and Battlemaster

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Terrain Crate Abandoned Factory for Star Saga?


Mantic has now released their Terrain Crate 2 kickstarter to retail.  Most of it is designed around a modern time period but some of it might be useful in other games.  Here I look at how the Abandoned Factory Set scales and looks with Star Saga models.

It pairs pretty nicely with some of the tile sets from the expansions.  The Devil's Betrayal and Blackstar Station sets have tiles that are a little less neat than those found in the core game.

Core game tables on left with similar sized substitutes from the Abandoned Factory set. 

One square sized stuff which might actually have something in it as tables are almost always empty when searched.

These two on the right would likely be fully line of sight blocking.

Possible door for less high tech areas.

While it was designed for something like Here's Negan, I think this set works with Star Saga also.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Battletech Beginner Box Mini Review

So I picked up the Battletech Beginner box a few weeks ago.  I detailed the contents here.  My idea was to give it a go with the kids.  I am pretty sure I started playing it at about the age my youngest is now.  The first thing I noticed from the beginner box is that the game has changed very little in its 35 years in production.  The beginner box has simplified rules from the main starter box.  It has removed Heat, Internal Structure, Terrain Levels, and Pilot checks to name a few things removed in this simplified version.  Mechs just have armor for their sections so when that armor is destroyed that section is destroyed with affects on the mech depending on what section. 

Since the game was written 35 years ago it is very table and 2d6 heavy compared to any modern game.  Tables of weapon ranges, table of attack modifiers, table for hit locations, table for mission hit numbers.   This line is called Classic Battletech and it certainly has that feel.  The GATOR mechanic for determining attack target numbers sort of shows how old school the game is.

First you start with Gunnery Skill (G) and then you add a modifier for Attacker movement modifier (A) determined by movement type and then the Target movement modifier(T) determined by how many hexs the target moved.  Next you have the Other modifiers (O) which is general terrain like wooded hexes between the attacker and the target or that the target is standing in.  Finally you have a range modifier (R) to determine the final target number.

So for example if you have normal Gunnery skill of 4 and then ran it gets you a +2, and the target moved 5 squares yields another +2.  The there is one light woods in the line of site adding another +1, and the target is in a light woods for another +1.  They are 6 hexes away which is say medium range for another +2.  Added that all up and you need a 12 to hit on your 2d6. 

Now they suggest using different colored D6 to mark on mechs what they moved and how far to make tracking the modifiers easier from the movement phase but they do not provide the dice or tokens which could accomplish the same thing in either this set or the bigger starter box.

As is clear from example above it gets very hard to hit things in the game.  This makes for many missed shots.  It also puts a lot of luck in the game when you are needing 10+'s to hit many turns.

This seemed to be the problem we had in both our trial games.  In the first I had my 13 and 8 year old duel with the two plastic mechs on the grassy map with all the standard terrain in place.  The kids moved around terrain and sort of got the feeling for it but the 8 year old had the hot dice and got enough damage on the 13 year old that she was not feeling the game was fair.

In the second game, my 8 year old and I used the two plastic medium mechs to take on 2 Locust Standees.  I piloted the standees and did my best to make them hard to hit and I did a good job of that.  It really slowed down the game play and seem to take several turns before any real damage can be done and need say more explosions to really get him hook in.  My plan was to follow the locust up with the thunderbolt heavy mech but we were sort of done after the Locusts.

If you are used to skirmish games were you might run 8 or so models and take down models with a turn or two of attacks, Battletech will seem strange.  The models have lots of staying power usually and a few mechs on each side can keep a battle going for quite some time.

The most powerful weapon on a mech in the box does like 10 damage.  As you can see from the little dots on the armor diagram (these dry erase mech sheets are great, wish they came with the bigger set also), every spot on the medium mechs other than the head can absorb at least one of those hits.  When you added in the scatter of the hits onto the mech it takes a fair number of hits to take someone out.

Playing it reminded me a little bit of how I learned to teach players Xwing by giving them the Falcon.  The turret there means you can shoot every turn so there are no dead turns.  Seems like I needed to start the first mission by stripping out the terrain (there are double sided terrain modifier tiles which can be used for this in the beginner box).    This will increase the hit rate and increase the excitement.   It will also remove at least one layer of modifiers to the hit number.

I recently picked up the bigger box to add to the plastic mechs from this and to keep working on teaching the game.  They just finished late pledges on a kickstarter but I passed as I am not willing to invest that much at this point as I am still trying to determine if the youngest likes it enough to keep playing.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Battletech Beginner Box Contents

So I used to play Battletech a long time ago.  I was an annoying little brother who tagged along with his older brother and his friends to play it.  We pretty much had everything but that was over 30 years ago.  I saw this box set on the shelf at the local bookstore which reminded me I did enjoy the game so I picked it up recently to give it a try with the kids.  This is the basic rules starter box which retails at 20 dollars.

Here is the collection of stuff from the box.  Not bad for 20 dollars these days.

These mech cards are the best thing in the box.  They are dry erase so you can mark down the damage, then erase and repeat next time.  If you look close you will see these cards have only armor and no internal structure.  This is the basic version of the game so that level of detail is left out.  There are 8 cards with 2 for each mech type introduced in the box.

 You also get 4 double sided pilot cards which add a little something extra with different Gunnery skills and special rules.  The cards have a point value which you are supposed to match between to two sides.

On the punch out sheet you get some double sided terrain pieces to put on the plastic map.  You can use these to add or change tree types or cover elevations or such.

Desert Blanks.

Short full color gloss rules book.  You also get a 4 page fluff primer.  You can see from the page I selected that tables and modifiers are still the  name of the game.

Classic Cardboard Standees.  These are the mechs I am used to.  We had two reinforcement boxes when we were kids to cover almost all the mechs.  Here you get 8 so two lances of 4.  Red verses Blue but the Locusts are different colors.  Not quite sure why.  I guess they need camo since a solid hit from any of the other mechs will punch through their armor.

You also get 2 preassembled plastic mechs.  Griffin and Wolverine.  Detail is not bad but there are some mold lines and sprue cuts that need cleaning up.

We got 2 games in last week to discuss in a future post.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Blood Bowl 7s Pitch

So my youngest is now getting to the age where he can be taught Blood Bowl.  I have tried to teach people the game in the past but it takes a long time to play a game with a new player so I normal get through less than a half when I am showing it.  Blood Bowl 7s to the rescue.  With only 7 players on the pitch for each side and 6 turns per half with very limited rerolls, the games go quicker.

I have been slowly picking up the new plastic teams to add to my collection so wanted a pitch that would fit the bigger models.  The plastic teams work well for sevens also since the often missing models for a optimal league team do not matter with only 4 total non lineman allowed.  I looked around for a pitch from several vendors but no one really listed it as a standard product.  After contacting some of the different makers for quotes, I decided to purchase one made by Mats by Mars.

The mat is vinyl.  It rolls and unrolls nicely.  Since the Sevens pitch has fewer squares it still fits nicely across the table.  I still have not adjusted to playing sideways with the BB2016 pitches.

The pitch has integrated sideline items.  Turn markers, Score, Fame, and Reserves up to the Morgue.

Blood Bowl 7s kickoff table on one side.

Pass Table, Weather Markers, and scatter on the other.

Overall I am quite happy with it.  I got it in the standard grassy style but they have a whole ranges of background patterns if you want to match your favorite teams.  Now onto training the Next Generation.