Monday, 14 March 2011

Newten Town 2 WIP



I'm now working on some town boards for Operation Sandbox, and finally here are some work-in-progress pictures of the Newten Town, which will no doubt stand in for many towns on Mummerset. For some reason or another, doing these boards were a lot harder than the one's I did for Dunmarkeet in 15mm, and have proven to be a steep learning curve for me. Even though these are just pictures of work-in-progress I wanted to post them, just because really.

Next I'll start working on the grass areas to finish them off, and then I will have to start putting all the other junk to on them (like destroyed cars etc), and of course finish the trees too, unless I decide to go for that winter look?
   

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Charlie's a Brewing

 

I can imagine that some of you might be saying that I need to start another new period about as much as I need another hole in my head, or perhaps not? Maybe as typical wargamers you'll be thinking, cool what is she going to do next.

Vietnam

It has to be done as it is a favourite of mine, and I can actually blame my mum for this one, because she loved John Wayne movies and took me and my sister to see the Green Berets. And thus it began...

I'm planning on doing this is my new favourite scale of 10mm and I've been busy searching eBay for stuff, and redrawing the next set of riverine terrain boards that I plan to make. So all good now, except that I just need to clone myself so that I can finish all the stuff I have planned.
  

OGRE Six Command Post Zero

 

The news is out SJG are going for a limited edition box set of OGRE 6ED with large hexes, 3D Ogres, buildings and all the trimmings. Estimated price $100.00. Yep, I shall be buying one, because the pleasure of having the new box set and playing with all the goodies will last longer than me remembering the price in years to come.

Of course, I have miniatures, I have loads of miniatures from the 1991 Ral-Partha release. I have a shoe box full of unopened blister packs too. With the release of a new set I might even be able to introduce people to the game, as lets be quite frank, while the original was cheap in a bag, the small plastic box sets convenient, everything was a little flimsy.

The new set will have card board maps and will a lot nicer game to look at. I might even be able to get people to play games with miniatures too. All win, and if not I will still have had the pleasure of buying and owning a new copy of the very first wargame I ever bought back in the day when I was young.
   

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Mummerset 02.27.11 Part 3

      

After all the planning we moved to the large scale maps and Clive and Dan really got into the alternative scenarios that could unfold. As a GM I was most impressed with how they sifted through the data and the conclusions they drew from it. Susan was a little left out of all of this, but by judicious use of role-play opportunities, during the "May Ball", I was able to keep her involved with developments within the game as it unfolded.
The first thing the did players was compare and contrast their LOKI intel briefing they received in the Bolan system with the realities of actually being on Mummerset. As Clive said: "we thought this planet was under some sort of unified government, instead what we have is is one small region, which is split into a rich North and poor South", he was not amused.


In fact the players were serendipitously able to connect Devlin Stone's forces contact with this world, and the current situation they found himself in with I believe Dan saying: "so Devlin Stone's group came along, landed at the only spaceport on the planet, and condemned the rest of the worlds population by ignoring them", or words to that effect.
The South of Mummerset appeared to consist of a few rather smaller, poorer towns and one city with the remains of long abandoned settlements. Historically the South had more settlements, because the weather was comparable to the South of France, whereas the North is generally colder and wetter.

During the "May Ball" the players were briefly introduced to Queen Elizabeth "Bess" Burlington ruler of Mummerset and her senior military supporter, General Sir Thomas Briton Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Mummerset Guards. Susan found herself the focus of the attention of the heir apparent, Albert Burlington, known to his close confidantes as "Bertie". Their exchange of pleasantries being quite limited due to cultural differences; Susan playing a Clanner to perfection as the heir apparent made a move on her, attracted by her formal Spirit Cat leather uniform. They also met Colonel Sir William Whales who commands the 1st Mummerset Royal Guards regiment, who exchanged pleasantries, with some vague promises of visits to each of the respective commands, and some joint exercises being arranged in the future.

The players also got to schmooze with débutantes, Dan getting some attention from the ladies who fancied an offworld mechwarrior as a dancing partner. Clive played disdainful disinterest to perfection to all of these going ons. During the party, drinks and interesting food on sticks etc., I was able to introduce the Prime Minister of Mummerset, the Right Honourable Rufus T. Marx and Mayor Chirico Marx of Clear Water Boring. The players quickly picked up that there were a series of families that basically ran Mummerset lock, stock and probably with two smoking barrels hidden away somewhere.

Obviously, the Steiner Diplomatic mission were at the ball too, and the players had a chance to talk to Duke Kelswa's attachés; Jane Johnson and David Bradford. The latter turning out to be a most useful person to know and all probability some sort of spy.

After the ball, the players got down to the meetings that the players wanted to go to, where they could ask the questions they needed to know answer too. First they went to see the Chief Constable of the Royal Mummerset Mounted Police, the Right Honourable Sir Allan Marx in his office at the RMMP HQ in Clear Water Boring, who offered them tea and biscuits and talked about law and order in Mummerset. After this they went to see the nearest regional commander, his office was down the corridor of the HQ, Sir Mark Kapp, whom they had a more productive chat with about setting up a hotline to liaise with the RMMP over any sightings of pirates landing on world. The didn't get to meet Sir John McDevitt of Elizabethville, or Sir Henry Bewley of New Cromwell RMMP district commands.

However, Kapp did arrange a pirate mech spotting hotline under the command of Captain Gordon Goodfellow. Our heroes visited him in the basement of the RMMP Clear Water Boring HQ, where they found him in charge of 20 filing cabinets, each with four draws, all full with the witness statements from every pirate raid over the last ten years. To say that paperless was not an adjective that could be used to describe the RMMP operations would be a slight understatement. Happy in-character hours passed by as the players researched the files.

After being slightly disheartened by all this info, the team went off to do some research in the library for a history of Mummerset. The very nice Head Librarian, Mavis Brandon, helped them through the intricacies of  library coding and Rolodex indexes. After several hours in the library the players a better understanding of the five major wars that were fought over water and what had occurred before Devlin Stone's forces arrived on world. These wars are locally know the the Great Water Wars, with number five being called the Boring's War, which had resulted in the current ruling family taking power and start rebuilding Mummerset's infrastructure. Think Mad Max and you will get the picture of Mummerset's past troubles.

I then announced that two jumpships had appeared in system, and that two dropships were inbound. These were identified as merchantmen from the Rim World Coalition, RWCMS Forlorn Star and the Marion Hegemony MHMS Stella Prophet. After landing the merchantmen were inspected and found to be exactly what they said they were, regular merchant ships on their scheduled run to Mummerset. It was purely happen chance that both jumpships had arrived on the same day with each emerging at the opposite polar jump points.

However, shock horror probe, both the Forlorn Star and the Stella Prophet carried a diplomatic mission from their respective homeworlds with the aim of setting up permanent embassies on Mummerset. In addition, the  Rim World Coalition had brought two industrial mechs with them to smooth over the trade deals, which "set the cat amongst the pidgeons". Fortunately, the Marian's only brought luxury goods and machine tools.

Later on the players discover, through the good office of David Bradford, that a 1000 tons of offworld cargo had gone missing in transit. The funny thing was that no one was complaining of lost cargo, but the second attaché had counted the number of wagons that left Landfall and had discovered a discrepancy in the paper work when he compared the number at the main marshalling yard at Clear Water Boring. He asked the players for a helicopter flight over the marshalling yards where newly painted wagons could be seen, and then asked to informally borrow their special forces scout team under Captain Bruce Gilmour. This would be for a plausibly deniable operation.

The result of the operation by the scout team was that they discovered that all the repainted wagons were empty and that no trace of the 1000 tons of cargo could be found in Clear Water Boring.

Finally, to bring the session to an end we played out the beginning of the second transient pirate jump point appearing, first being a no show obviously, and yes this time a jumpship did appear.
  

Mummerset 02.27.11 Part 2

    
As you can see this map has an area marked that could be viewed in more detail. However, we began by looking at the general area and the players noted the large number of apparently abandoned settlements, ranging from small villages up to several large cities. The enormity of the task ahead did not phase my players, who got stuck in and started sifting through the data, and asking questions of me for clarification of things they didn't understand. I was able to then make a list of all the appropriate people they needed to talk to onworld.

The time just flew by as the various options were discussed and force allocation plans were made. The players had to deal with the reality that they would most likely have to deploy in two groups as heavy lift was at a premium, and given the operational necessity of having assets combat ready, rather than packed up efficiently in packing cases. 

The following alert levels, rules of engagement, mission task organisation, and operational plans were formulated by the players.

Alert Levels

1. Normal
2. Pirate jump point active
3. Dropship inbound
4. Enemy battlemech sighted
5. Receiving fire

Rules of Engagement

Level1: Do not shoot. If fired upon use a proportionate response with warning shots
Level 2: All leave cancelled, elective maintenance only,force on standby
Level 3: High alert, force deployment preparation 30 minutes
Level 4: Deploy, weapons free fire on enemy
Level 5: All targets weapon free-fire zone

Mission Organisation

The players planned to deploy infantry as observation posts at four likely routes that the enemy might use to hit their designated targets. Observations posts would be set up at Oldtown, Firston, Midville and Forest town.

Observation Posts
One platoon of infantry
Four scout VTOLs

The actual forces that would be used for fighting were split into three groups code named Hammer, Anvil and Tongs.

Hammer
Two battlemechs (Scorpion and Commando)
Two squads light battle armour 
Two squads heavy battle armour 
One artillery battery (four tubes)
One platoon infantry (security for dropship)
One dropship (Northern Lights)

Anvil
One battlemech (Zeus)
One squad light battle armour 
One squad heavy battle armour
One platoon of four GEV LRM carriers
One Heavy lift helicopter
Four medium lift VTOLs

Tongs (Reserves)
One squad light battle armour 
One squad heavy battle armour
One platoon of four light tanks
Two platoons infantry

Plan A

The consensus was that the players wanted to prevent the enemy mech from returning to its dropship, and force the dropship to leave without it. Hammer would be used to deal with the mech, while Anvil dealt with the dropship. The observation posts would monitor key routes to likely targets and report in if they saw enemy movement.

This plan would pretty much end any further pirate raids, on the basis that Mummerset would be no longer seen as easy pickings. 

Plan B

If it turns out that the pirates are more numerous, or better equipped than the intel suggested, then after the deployment of Hammer and Anvil, the VTOLs would be sent back to pick up Tongs the slower assets, which can then be deployed as necessary to stiffen the main attack.
   

Mummerset 02.27.11 Part 1

   

Our intrepid heroes returned to Mummerset for the second day of gaming in my Operation Sandbox Campaign. The first thing I did was orientate them to the progress of time in game, and calculated that we had reach week 20, which allowed me to announce that the Royal Mummerset May Ball was due where all the débutantes would be presented at court. Of course the players would be expected to go in full dress uniforms to fly the flag. However, they were keen to get into the operational planning and analysis of all the data that they had requested at the end of the last game. So I started them with the map you can see above (all the maps are clickable for larger views).

This had been compiled from the orbital satellite imagery they had and the questions started as various points were noted. They were disappointed to find that the scout Captain, the very nice special forces, Bruce Gilmour couldn't find the site where the pirates were landing their dropship, but when he described the enormity of the task it was not very surprising really. His summary was that there were a large number of suitable sites and nothing obvious had been spotted.

The players then got the report from Captain Franz Heidhenheim of the Northern Lights that the both jump satellites had been check and nothing untoward had been found, like for instance tampering, or malicious code. He had even downloaded the logs of the satellites. This was a useful thing to have done because it revealed that a far larger number of jumpships were passing through the Mummerset system each year than the players thought from their original briefing.

Over the last ten years a 118 ships had come to the Mummerset system, which was nearly 12 a year, or an average of once a month. A far larger number than the two ships a year that the LOKI intelligence briefing had suggested. In all fairness to LOKI, they had only been following Lyran trade ships that were registering flight plans, but even so though had underestimated these by about 50% too as there are two different Lyran merchant jumpships coming to Mummerset.

The most regular ships coming and going were the Lyran merchantmen, but the records showed two different Marik ships, two Marian Hegemony traders, a Rim World Coalition and one visit by a Magistry of Canopus vessel too. Worryingly there were 20 unidentified jumps into the system by ships who had switched off their IFF beacons, making their identification impossible.

The biggest bombshell for the players was being told that due to Mummerset having four moons that there was an oscillating temporary pirate jump point that appeared roughly every six weeks that was about six hours transit time out from the planet. We then zoomed into the regional map below and the intel discussion continued.
   

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