Saturday, March 28, 2015

Conflict at Izendral - A Battle Report

Somewhere, in the countless systems controlled by the Exodus Unlimited Corporation, there is a world with oceans that are predominantly heavy water. The mineral content of the water is what makes this world a resource to Exodus. But this very same resource plays havoc with the movement systems commonly used for frame design. The atmosphere itself contains these minerals as well, though in much smaller parts per million. The result of all of this is that frames without an environmental system have a reduction in mobility. This is one reason that Exodus has limited the number of frames they have dedicated to the planet, despite the danger presented by the native people's natural technological aptitude.

Variant rule: Frames without environmental systems only get half their movement, rounded up.

The usually peaceful town of Izendral is located on a strategic river. The people of Izendral live their normal existence, barely making a living working for one of the countless Exodus operations in a company town, on a company planet, in a company system. Many would claim that the faceless corporation that controls this entire sector cares very little about the people that live there. The truth is, they are seen as numbers on a holosheet, simply another resource to be exploited and expended in the quest for profits.
Unknown to the corporate explorers that scouted out this world a mere twelve cycles ago, the sea harbors large creatures that normally stay in the depths of the ocean. With all of the recent surface activity, however, those creatures have been disturbed and begun the slow trek to the surface.

Meanwhile, a motley group of piecemeal frames has also come in from the other direction, seeking salvage and anything else they can scavenge. Izendral had heard of these nomadic native people, but this is their first interaction.  

The skirmish begins with each of the combatants having the following forces:

Exodus Unlimited had two frames, two sensor probes, and an aircraft available to defend the town from the forces arrayed against it. Clockwise from top right: Sentry Drone 00563, with WWRaRaRdRd, the sensor probes, both with EEYY, the KNKSN-0017 Konkussion at WWRaRaEB, and the Whiplash VTOL at WWRdRdGE. With the least systems, the Exodus Unlimited forces find themselves in the unlikely position of starting the game on defense. 
The Crabicles, from left to right: Mantis, Firecrab, KingCrab, OctoBot, and Dungeoness. These are Kaiju emerging from the sea. Three of them are WWERhRhY, with Mantis being WWERhRhB and Octobot being WWEYY. All will also get an extra d8 for movement because they are completely Hand to Hand.
The irregular forces of Red. From left to right we have Spikes, Sneezy, DerpNaut, Duckbot, and Cat Bus. As you can see, all but Sneezy are WWRaRaYY. Sneezy is WWRhRhYE, with the E being an environmental system that allows movement in water as normal. The native’s strategy is to destroy as much as possible to be able to scavenge as much as possible. They have already taken the damaged torso of a frame, as well as a pool of filtered freshwater that the administrators of Izendral apparently swim in. They see the creatures rising from the sea as a potential threat, however, and will try to ensure that they survive that onslaught as well.
The corporate forces are deployed along the river in the heart of Izendral when the battle begins, and the Red forces are strung out in a line on one side of the town. The initial contact happened when one of the Reds strayed too close to the town.

From the sea, the daikaiju emerge.

Start of battle:
Corp: 7 assets x 6 = 42
Kaiju: 7 assets x 5= 35
Red: 7 assets x 4 = 28

The battle starts, and right out of the gate the defender starts throwing around spot dice. The point attack frame, Sneezy, gets a spot of 6, as does Octobot. The Whiplash attacks Sneezy, dealing four damage and nearly destroying it in one attack. Sneezy counterattacks, dealing one damage to the VTOL. The sentry drone attacks Octobot, dealing two damage. Octobot loses a white die and the environmental system. The Konkussion then attacks Catbus for no damage, and leaves a spot of 2 on Duckbot. Catbus responds by taking a huge chunk out of the Sentry drone, leaving it with one white die and putting all of Red’s artillery completely out of reach.

The Kaiju now have priority, and they begin to emerge from the sea. Mantis moves to take the power station from the Corp, and the score changes. The Firecrab, KingCrab, and Dungeoness all move up, with the FireCrab taking a swing at a sensorbot but missing.

When the Red team takes over, they start the destruction that they hope will result in some salvageable equipment. Spikes attacks the Konkussion destroying the cover it is hiding near and dealing one damage to the frame itself. DerpNaut also attacks the Konkussion for one damage, and puts a spot of 6 on the FireCrab. Duckbot then attacks Firecrab, rolling 10 damage dice, dealing 6 damage and wiping the FireCrab off the battlefield.
Doomsday clock automatically goes to 10, and all three players spin it down.
Score @ doomsday 7:
Corp: 6 x 6 = 36
Kaiju: 7 assets x 5= 35
Red: 7 assets x 4 = 28

The round starts off with the Corp in the lead. The sensor probe starts off the round by declaring Sneezy at Hand to Hand. No damage. Sneezy then activates, rolling an 8 for movement. Sneezy heads directly for Corp’s only station, which is completely undefended. The station changes hands, and Corp loses the lead to the Crabicles.

Mantis goes in for the Hand to Hand versus the Sentry Drone. The drone, with his lone remaining white die, is destroyed. The Corp is now hurting for points. Octobot attempts to hit Sneezy with Rockets, but not able to get in range. Kingcrab moves up, and deals three damage to Sneezy, one more than required. Kingcrab now owns the former Corp station, putting the Kaiju firmly in the lead. Dungeoness moves up.
With the change of hands of the ruby crate yet again, Corp is now in second place and gains priority over Red. The remaining sensor probe lays a spot of 5 on KingCrab, which only has a Def of 4 this round. The Whiplash attacks KingCrab, misses badly, and flees towards the Red battle lines. The Konkussion attacks Octobot, whiffs, and then settles in for the inevitable.

Red gets to go last in the round, and CatBus attacks KingCrab. KingCrab is down to one die, abandons the base to keep another. Spikes attacks Octobot, leaving one remaining white die. DerpNaut gets in on the action, thoroughly destroying the cover that Mantis was hiding behind, but not doing any damage to Mantis itself. Duckbot finishes out the round by finishing off Octobot.

The Doomsday clock winds down to 6, and the Crabicles spin it down to 5.
Score @ doomsday 5:
Corp: 4 x 6 = 24
Kaiju: 7 x 5= 35
Red: 6 x 4 = 24

Kaiju begin the round with Mantis attacking the Konkussion, but the dice result in no damage. The Konkussion in turn attacks Spikes, dealing 3 damage. Spikes then attacks KingCrab, destroying the cover that it is hiding behind but not doing any damage. KingCrab finds another patch of  cover to hide behind. Sometimes being a ‘fraidy cat is the better part of valor. Dungeoness thinks so, because it continues to hide behind cover.

Having won the tiebreaker roll against Corp, Red now gets priority. Duckbot takes a shot at Mantis, for no damage. DerpNaut attacks KingCrab. 4 hits on cover clear it out, and then a 5 and two 6’s get through, destroying KingCrab. CatBus attacks Mantis, dealing 2 damage.

Corp finally gets priority. The first Sensor Probe lays a spot on Spikes and heads for a station. The Whiplash attacks Spikes, deals 2 damage, and leaves Spikes with 1 white die. The other sensor probe then just hangs  out, unable to assist.

The Doomsday clock winds down to 4, and the Crabicles spin it down to 3.
Score @ doomsday 3:
Corp: 5 x 6 = 30
Kaiju: 5 x 5= 25
Red: 6 x 4 = 24

At the start of the round, Crabicles have the priority due to calculation error. Mantis makes a beeline for the station, assigns no value to defense. Dungeoness attacks the Konkussion with Hand to Hand, dealing 1 damage. With only two frames left, that is the end of Crabicle’s turn.
The Konkussion makes an artillery attack, destroying cover. Both Sensor Probes then lay on spots of 6, on Mantis and Spikes respectively. The Whiplash attacks Spikes nearly head on. When Spikes rolls a 2 for defense, the Whiplash shows how dangerous direct fire can be to artillery and performs an overkill.
Those are all damage dice.

Red now has final priority. CatBus attacks the Konkussion, dealing 6 damage against 2 systems, obliterating the Konkussion. DerpNaut goes last, and rolls an 8 for an attack against the Mantis. With the spot of 6 and a defense of 0, Red rolls 14 dice for damage against a frame that is not in cover. This destroys the Mantis with 6 damage vs. 3 systems.

The Doomsday clock winds down to 2, and the Corp spins it down to 1. Due to poor math skills, Red is currently tied with Corp, and spins the clock to zero. Game over! 

We thought that it ended in a tie between Corp and Red, but the actual score looks like this:
Score @ doomsday 0:
Corp: 2 Sensor probes, the Whiplash, and 1 of 2 original Corp stations: 4 x 6 = 24
Kaiju: Dungeoness, both Kaiju stations, and the other Corp station: 4 x 5= 20
Red: 3 frames, both starting stations: 5 x 4 = 20

Several lessons were learned, including:
When on defense, don’t split the map.
If your point attack frame is your only non-artillery piece, run like your life depends on it. Because it does.
And most important is this: Never go in against a calculator when the game is on the line!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Micro Castle Fenced Stockyard

Here is the next micro castle module that I put together. I can't remember where I first saw the use of the grate tiles as fences, but I definitely can't claim credit for them. It took a bit of work to come up with a layout that would not have any gaps. Ultimately, I had to settle for a small bit of extra fence on one end, but overall I like the effect.

When I first set out to build castle modules in micro scale, I wanted to do things besides just castles. I think that this is a good first step in that direction. Soon I will have enough tiles to start playing with overall layouts of multiple modules.

Here's a picture of the finished module:

Here's a link to the Flickr Album with more camera angles and a view from above.

I have several other micro castle modules in the works, and have an entire list of ideas as well. If you can think of any suggestions, please feel free to post them in the comments.

Next week: A wizard's tower in micro size.

Monday, March 23, 2015

SSC: Swamp Police Helicopter (30311)

For my weekly Mobile Frame Zero Single Set Challenge, I'm doing Swamp Police Helicopter (Set 30311). 

And when I say weekly, I don't mean "whenever I feel like it." From now on, I'll be posting weekly.

That said, here's the review:

When I saw this set, I knew I wanted a couple of them. The round brick with the hole through the side is new. And the price per piece is really good. But the usefulness for MFØ is questionable.

Others had said this lack of useable pieces meant arms are difficult to make, so I decided to use parts from the pontoons for the arms. He ended up with an overhead railgun as well, leading him to be pretty serious on the weapons front.

Pics on Flickr

I like him a bit, and might get another one to make a clone. I'll probably modify him somewhat; the connection for the railgun needs to be upgraded, and the railgun itself could definitely be shorter.

Again, the set has probably doesn't have much for MFØ, but those pontoons just screamed arms to me. I took another person's writeup of this set as a challenge.

Next up: A MFØ article to finish off the week, then a single set challenge for the Mixel "Scorpi" on Monday.

Here's a link to the Single Set Challenge guidelines.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

SSC: 41510 Mixel Lunk

For my weekly Mobile Frame Zero Single Set Challenge, I'm doing Mixel Lunk (Set 41510). 

Looking at the packaging, I knew I had to use those things coming out of his nose as a sword, and I put together what I think is a nice little frame. The legs can be adjusted a lot more than I would have expected, in the photo album there are a few pics of him running.

Picture album can be found here

My only regret is not getting more of this set when I could. I'm not sure I've seen that sword anywhere else, so having only two of them is only gonna lead me straight to Brink Link.

I'm going to call this guy Sneezy in honor of the sword. The only thing I'm going to change on him is the claw. I'm going to rotate that 90 degrees.

Here is a link to an explanation of the Single Set Challenge guidelines.

Next up: I'm not going to predict what is up next, but I'll post it before Monday night next week.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Micro Castle - Standard Development

As I have been researching the idea of a standard for building castles on a micro scale, I have come across a few discussions in various places. Most are a few years old, and I haven’t been able to find anyone that is currently working on a standard. If you know of anyone, please point it out to me in the comments.

What I have taken away from all that I’ve read is that a Carcassone style of tile is probably best, at least for the roads and rivers. I find the idea of a “wall standard,” meaning modularized castle walls, to be somewhat restrictive. A standard would require all castles to be built with the same color and wall design, and I think this will result in less variety and creativity in castle design. So, rather than come up with a wall standard, I am simply going to say that all castles need to be contained on the module. Even if this means building a double module so that there is enough room for the castle.

The size that I have chosen to start out with is 13x13. This allows for a plate six studs wide to be used on either side of a blue tile that represents water. The drawback to this, other than a need for multiple plates, is that the technic piece used to connect the plates has to be at least four studs long. I feel this is a better trade off than having the all water modules terminate with a spot two studs wide.

Another benefit of 13x13 is that an "adapter" can be created that allows a micro castle module to fit the micropolis standard, if the technic bricks are done correctly. Since the micropolis standard is much more widely used, this makes the micro castle modules a little more versatile.

Here are the first three modules that I have photographed. I have another castle on the way, and then I will be working on some forest land.

One thing that becomes readily apparent in these pictures is that a standard color for roads needs to be decided upon.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

SSC: 76010: Batman: The Penguin Face Off

My next Single Set Challenge for Mobile Frame Zero is, as promised, the Batman set featuring the Penguin. I played around with this a bit, and behold, I present to you, DuckBot.

More pix can be found here

I tried to use some of the “signature parts” that came in the set, and I think I captured it well with the fins (flags) used as feet and the “tail” piece actually used as a tail. The set contained enough pieces to make two copies of the laser cannon, but I like asymmetric builds. Though I like the minimalist nature of the legs, I will likely be changing them at some point. I want to keep the flag usage, but I’m going to have to cram a knee joint in there somewhere.

I really liked this build. The scuba flippers will be the first to go, but I think I may add the waist/hip joints to my bag of tricks.

The Anti-Climax

And now here's a another SSC: the Mixel "Nurp-Naut" (set 41529) from Series 4.


I tried and I tried, but I couldn’t come up with a use of the huge trans-clear domes that came with this guy. I tried to at least use the round piece for the top of the bot, but it just isn’t turning out. Overall, I’m not very happy with this frame. I figured I would take pictures, but now that that is done he’s gonna be parts. If I was reviewing this Mixel for use as a frame, it wouldn’t get a very good grade from me. Sure the price was great per piece, but all I feel I got out of it was the two mixel joints and a couple of clear domes that can be used for stations of some sort.

I can't really call this a "bonus," but I'm throwing it in here because I really don't think it stands on its on.

Here are more pics, for the sake of completeness.

Here is a link to an explanation of the Single Set Challenge guidelines. Thanks again to Mantis King for reminding me where it can be found.

Next up: Mixel Lunk (Set 41510)