Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Upcoming releases: another look at the King Mammoth

And man is that thing big! Yowza!

I don't own any of the Karmans myself so I can't really hazard any guesses at what the dimensions are, but I have seen those minis first hand so I know that thing will be massive! As Aftermath from the forums said, "I think I need a bigger box."

The only downside will be that it will be that much harder for a unit that big to navigate the battlefield which is not a bad thing considering how much damage that beastie can do.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Terrain Project: how to make your own Hyperlink Antenna!

Edit: Just a quick note. When I first posted this I put it as an "On the Cheap" feature. Why? Was there mysterious motive behind my actions? Or was it simply gross negilgence on my part? I claim the former but suspect the later. In any case, it is now a "Terrain Project" as it should have been all along. And now back to your regularly scheduled blog...

In Cry Havoc #14 Rackham introduces the Therian Hyperlink Antenna, a special device that can be added to any Therian army and produces an extra 3 Leadership points when it is turned on. Included in the issue is a card to represent the antenna, both when it is turned on and off. This is all fine and dandy except that I don't have that issue of Cry Havoc and more importantly (at least to me anyway...) this is a terrain feature. It should be something real, something three dimensional! With this thought burning in my mind, I set out to to build my own version of the hyperlink antenna.

The first step was to start collecting the items that I would use for the antenna, the most important which you can see below.

Starting from the top left is a lid from a container of Floam. "Floam?", you say? Yes, Floam. You can find this in most major large department style stores in the kids arts and craft section, or even at Michael's. Next to this is a transpartent orange ice cream cup that I picked up at our local Walgreens. By a total fluke, they only charged me 8 cents for it instead of the 33 cents it should have cost. Needless to say, I rushed back to get some more... : ) Below this the lid to a pink lemonade mix from the grocery store, easy to find and the whole container has a sci-fi kind of look to it. Lastly is the to go lid from a Ritter's Custard sundae. It is a little hard to see right now (it is transparent after all) but the shape is perfect.

The first step in contructing the antenna was to trim down the edge of the orange dish. It had one of those wavy edges on it and it was about 1/2" too tall, so out came the Dremel and off came the edge. A word of warning though; cutting thick plastic with a Dremel creates quite the stink and can gum up the bit in melted plastic. Still, once I recovered from the fumes it looked quite nice.

Below is a picture showing all of these pieces assembled in a "dry run" so that you can get an idea of what the antenna will look like when it is completed.

The only thing that was lacking at this point was some way to show whether it was on or off. Another quick trip to Walgreens turned up the solution; Stick N Click lights! As seen on TV being sold be that really annoying guy, but the perfect solution for my problem.

The only way to get the light to fit was to actually mount it in the bottom section of the antenna, meaning that I had to cut a hole in the lemonade lid for the light to shine through. Some quick work with an hobby knife and I was well on my way.

Next I needed something to fill in the space on the lid from the Floam container, which was easily done by tracing it onto a piece of foamcore and cutting it to fit. Once this was in place, I traced the orange dish onto the foamcore in the lid and cut the openning for it.

This gave me a good start toward making my antenna, though I obviously still was not yet finished. More on that soon. : )

Be sure to come back for the next installment: A-Tis Phone Home!

Upcoming releases: finally the part that the rest of us have been waiting for!

Well, I had planned on posting the last of the upcoming releases a few days ago, but thanks to a nasty little bug I have been sicker than a dog that is really, really sick. Colds suck. But with that aside, let's take a look at the brand new campaign for AT-43 due out in June; Operation: Frostbite.

Not too much is known about this set at this time, but I have found the following snipet in the forums that make it sound even more interesting (like that's possible!)...

"AT-43 Campaign: Frostbite This book introduces new campaign scenarios, with new rules and additional rules covering attachment boxes and bunkers.This also contains gaming tiles, crystal base, large crystal base, miniatures engineers, and gaming cards. $59.99"

What does it all mean? Well, I am guessing that the rules for attachment boxes means that Rackham will finally be releasing the rules for support units. These are mentioned in the Rule Book (see the insert at the top left of page 80 for all the details) but nothing official has ever been done with them. As for the bunkers, I am thinking that the rules will follow along the lines of the information that they have already released. Still it will be good to have the official rules laid out for them.

The next bits are the really interesting parts. "...gaming tiles, crystal base, large crystal base, miniatures engineers, and gaming cards." The first is pretty easy. They are probably going to release the map for this campaign as the 30cm by 30cm boards like you can currently buy for Damocles. Makes sense really as they should be more sturdy than the paper map plus they will be very adaptable since they are seperate tiles. The crystal base and large crystal base are somewhat more of a mystery. People are suggesting that maybe these will be 3d terrain elements like the pieces included in the new Confrontation. Then there are the "miniatures engineers". If you dig past the bad translation, I am guessing that these will be some kind of specialists though I have no idea which faction they will be for. Probably Red Blok and Karmans since those are shown on the cover, but that is pure speculation on my part.

Personally, I really like the sound of the last bit as well. "$59.99" If it comes with all of this stuff it will definitely be worth it, though to be honest I'll be buying it regardless. : )

Next up are the first new releases for the Therians in a while and man is it a dozzy! This is a hero pack containing Nina-Zero and Babylon-Zero. I am not positive about which is which, but I am guessing that Nina-Zero is the Bane Goliath and Babylon-Zero is the Incubus Golgoth. Either way I expect that this will be a pretty potent addition to the Therian army. The regular Incubus Golgoth is nasty enough, but to throw a hero inside it?!?! Can't wait to field that one! Plus, the Bane Goliath is a nasty addition as well; much tougher than a regular Golem (such as Urash), a Bane Goliath as packs a very mean punch with it two nucleus guns. Being a hero also means that it should have at least the same abilities as a regular Overseer which means attach this puppy to a unit of Banes and use the dash routine to get them into position ASAP.

Next up is Lieutenant Dragomira O-3 for the Red Blok. This is an officer in the new type of Kollosus armor. What is it equipped with? Not really sure to be honest, speculation is leaning toward a rocket launcher and a light gauss machine gun. Pretty good combination in my opinion. The rocket launcher is powerful enough to damage light vehicles while the machine gun can make mincemeat out of infantry. There is also a unit featuring this new type of armor (complete with winter camo scheme) that will be released as well.

Last but not least will be another hero/vehicle package like we saw for the Therians, but this time it is for the Karmans. Saint Anuman will final enter the fray and I think that he has some nasty potential. As an individual he is pretty weak but if you put him inside his vehicle Jindo-Un, well then it's a different story! Pictured below, you can see it mounts twin light ZZ-cannons on the front and the back making it a potent anti-armor unit. In addition, Saint Anuman also grants his company the ability to take control of an enemy vehicle as long as the last shot that would have eliminated it was done by a weapon with the jammer ability. A nasty little touch, it also gives the Karman player a reason to field Easy Trikes and K-Fighters. They may be nearly useless against infantry units but being able to take control of an enemy vehicle seems like it could be a worthwhile trade-off.

As an added plus Jindo-Un is also a regular Jungle Buggy. It has a standard paint scheme for the Karmans so if you want to field it as a normal vehicle you should be able to with no problem.

This wraps up the new releases that have been added to their schedule, but there is one more that is listed as being a July release.

This is listed as the MedTec but there is no other information out there right now, not even which of the human factions it is for. Personally I am thinking that maybe it will be a generic unit, but that is just my own guess. Either way it will be a really nice addition to the line, bringing supporting units right into the game instead of just as a card that you can add to your activation sequence.

That's all for now, though speaking of making a supporting element into a really mini, I really should get some more work done on the Therian hyperlink antenna that I started months ago. And yes, you can even turn it on and off. More on that soon.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Upcoming releases: see? that didn't take too long...

Well, the monkey goodness starts in April and continues into May with three more releases for the Karmans. This time it is only one new unit but there are also two new attachments as well.

First up are the Yetis. Similar in many ways to the Anakongas, the Yetis are equipped with a more accurate weapon plus heavier armor giving you a pretty good all around unit. The jump pack makes them maneuverable (nothing like being able to completely ignore terrain as you go sailing over it...) and they are the only other Karman unit that can field medics. Better armor and medics? What more could you want?

For starters, probably this; the rocket launcher. Not the most accurate of weapons but when you combine it with the jet pack... Esh. Need I say more? Good penetration and damage against vehicles make this one unit that I am going to be sure to shoot at first. : )

Last but not least is the second attachment box for the Wendigos. With this box you have the option to add the firepower of the drum gun to your squads. It does not have very much potential against most vehicles (that penetration is just too low...) but against infantry it is another story. You wanna talk about some swiss cheese?

Well, that about wraps it up for the upcoming releases before the new operation begins. So far there are only teasers about what that will entail, but we do know that you will need your long johns for this one. It's kind of like the big battle from that famous movie, ya know? On the ice world, and stuff? Except now there are like big monkies in power armor and robots and stuff. Pretty cool, dude.

More on Operation Frostbite soon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Upcoming releases: and the beat rolls on...

After the last wave of minis, three initial factions all take a small vacation if you will as the Karmans roll on with more units to fill out their ranks in April with the addition of a hero, a type two infantry unit, and a type two vehicle.

First up is the main man of monkey madness, Freezer. Equipped with his custom-made super j-grips he is a terror to both infantry and vehicles, provided that he can get into close combat to make use of these deadly weapons.

Next are the Wendigos. Equipped with zz-rifles and with the abilitiy to combine their firepower into one massive indirect artillery blast, they can make any infantry unit foolish enough to get too close to them very sorry. They are also one of the few Karman units that can actually field a medic, giving them a little bit more survivability compared to some of the other units. The odd thing is that they have no close combat weapons at all, meaning that attackers don't need to worry about being crushed by a power grip. They still look like a tough nut to crack, but at least it is one less thing to worry about, right?

Adding to the Wendigos firepower is their first attachment box, which features a couple of grenade launchers. Not the most fearsome weapon in the world but since it is an indirect weapon, it does knock any survivors off their feet. After having been on the receiving end of this from a Red Blok Sierp, I almost wonder which is worse; having troops killed or simply having them unable to do anything because they are still trying to stand up...

Last but not least is the King Buggy, the first of the type two vehicles for the Karmans. Equipped with twin light ZZ-cannons in the front and twin flamers in the back, the King Buggy is very versatile piece of machinery on the battlefield, especially since it is also an anti-grav vehicle. Its one weakness is its relatively low armor compared to other type two vehicles. Don't expect standard infantry weapons to take it down but if you can get a few solid shots in with some support weapons, there is a good chance that you can cripple it.

And yes, there is still more monkey madness on the way in May as they get another infantry unit. But never fear; the other races will soon have their ranks bolstered as new heros rise to the challenge of the next major campaign in the AT-43 universe!

But more on that later... : )

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Upcoming releases: and this is only the beginning!

Well, Rackham has updated their release schedule through July and there are lots of really cool things on the horizon. I was going to post about each of them individually but since there are so many, I decided to put up one month at a time. So without further ado, on with the show!

The first should be coming out at the end of February, the Kaptars attachment box with the sniper rifle. Like the Karmans are not nasty enough, now they will have snipers as well! Argh...
Next up are the March releases. The UNA will get some love this month with the release of three new/updated units for their army.
The Fire Toad with winter paint scheme may seem like it is just re-releasing an old idea, but in fact it comes with a nice little bonus. This Fire Toad actually has all of the weapons and stat cards for all of the variant of the Toad. You want a Lancelot? No problem! Feel more like a Iron Rain this mission? You got it! This is a long overdue improvement in my opinion, though I wish they would do the same thing with the Golgoth...

Next up are the Shock Troopers. I must admit that I don't know much about them, but from what I recall they are basically a type of assault troop. Equipped with grav packs that let the jump over terrain, they can quick close with an enemy to engage them in close combat!

Next up is the Shock TacArms which I actually know even less about. : ) From the looks of the mini, it seems like they are equipped with a flamer in one hand and some kind of close combat weapon in the other. And is that a grav pack on its back? Eesh. That does not look like it would be fun to face off against...

Next the Karmans get some monkey love (had to be said...) with the addition of the K-warriors. Equipped with the massive K-suit and two equally massive mortars on their back, this unit will let the Karmans start raining death on their opponents with indirect fire. Stand by to be knocked down...

The last release planned for March is the Kaptar attachment box with ZZ-cannons. Can you say big gun that makes big holes in anything it hits? I knew you could...

And is this all? Not by any means. Well, actually yes, this is all that is being released in March but hold onto your hats cause there is more on the way!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Unit review: Therian assault goliaths

Meet the new bad boys of physical comedy... .larry, .moe, and .curly!

Seriously though, the assault goliaths are the latest addition to the Therian army and one that I just had to buy as soon as I saw them. They just look too cool in my opinion! Then again looks are not everything (even in a miniatures game), so the real question is how do they play? I recently had a chance to find out firsthand.

The game that we played featured the Therians against an alliance of Karmans and the Red Blok. With the way that the units moved onto the board my Goliaths wound up being paired off against the strider-heavy RB faction, in particular a Sierp and Urod. Once they were able to move into a position that they could draw line-of-sight, they opened up on the Sierp but honestly they were not very effective. It's armor was too high for the sonic cannon to be effective and though the nucleus gun was able to inflict some damage, it was not enough to really make much of a difference before all of the goliaths were destroyed by a barrage of fire from Urod.

A dismal first performance for them but I think that it is largely a case of not really being on par with what they had to face. With a strider heavy force such as this, I would have been better off fielding a unit of bane goliaths. The dual nucleus guns that they are armed with would have had a much greater chance of being effective which could have helped swing the battle in my favor.

Still, the question remains: are the assault goliaths worth it? Personally I still think that they are in the right situation. With their mixed armament, they have a versatility that the banes simply don't have against a force with a more balanced mix. For example, when used against units with lighter armor such as infantry the assault goliaths can potentially eliminate 12 targets compared to the 6 that a bane goliath unit will eliminate, enough to seriously cripple even the largest RB squads. It is just against striders that they seem to have some difficulty, though since the last battle did include the near-indestrucible Urod it is perhaps still too early to say.

Overall I would say that the assault goliaths are a nice addition to any army but if you are going to be facing a large number of AFV, you might want to put the points into bane goliaths instead.

Battle report 17022008: the Mighty Therians vs the Red/Monkey Alliance

Hello, overseers! Welcome to the EMI grid!

/Assault golem unit
/Storm golem unit
/Grim golem unit
/leader: Alpha Atis
/Assault goliath unit
/Wraith golgoth: Nimit-Urash
/company leader: Sigma Urash

/Red Blok
/Hetman: Urod
/company leader: Odin 0-1 and Manon 0-2
/Dragonov Kommandos
/Anakonga unit
/Kaptar unit
/Easy trike armored fighting vehicle

/Both factions began the conflict by moving their units onto the field of battle. Cover was plentiful so most units were able to quickly move into defensive positions.

/Once the enemy units were sighted, Alpha Atis activated her teleport routine and moved into melee with the Anakonga unit. Three of the Karmans were quickly dispatched for their treachery against the consensus, but in her exuberance for combat Atis put her unit and herself into an untenable position. The remaining Anakongas were able to quickly neutralize her unit and her own frame was quickly disabled as well.

/The Hetman unit designated Urod quickly moved into position and fired on the assault goliaths but to no avail. The Sierp unit proved to be much more troublesome as it began firing mortar rounds at the advancing Assault golem unit

/The Easy trike unit fired against Nimit-Urash, causing minor damage. Nimit responded by attacking the Sierp inflicting minor damage which was subsequently repaired by the clone twins designated Odin and Manon.

/As our units continued their advance the Sierp proved to be an ongoing problem. This unit has armor strong enough to resist most standard infantry weapons and the fire launched from the mortars proved to be more troublesome than anticipated. In addition, the unit designated Urod also proved to be much more difficult to damage than had been anticipated due to the mechanical abilities of the clone twins piloting this strider unit.

/Ultimately the combined arms of the two factions proved to be too much and the remaining units disengaged.


/A larger number of strider type units must be fielded to counter Red Blok striders and possibly more type 3 infantry units. All fire should be concentrated on these units to eliminate them as quickly as possible. Any remaining opposition infantry units should be easily eliminated by our own supporting infantry units.

/Better use of the combat routines is necessary. Until the battle was already joined the overseer seemed uncertain of how to use best use these costing him valuable time and forfeiting a stronger position on the battlefield.

Have a nice day and thank you for your information!

Now if only I had brought the camera...

Ah well, this gives you some kind of an idea how the battle went from my perspective. Overall, the three of us had a good time and I managed to learn a few things about the Therians that I had not really had to face.

1) The routines are the key to victory. Ignore them and risk defeat! I spent the first turn or two just trying to get my head wrapped around the game again and in doing so I overlooked by combat routines. Big mistake let me tell you! The Dash routine in particular would have been perfect on the first turn to get myself into much better position, and I have also decided that I need to get a handful of type 1 striders. I might not like the Hekat that much, but I think that being able to create a couple of those would have help me tip the game back into my favor.

2) The faction is crucial. Choose wisely! I ran a list that just used the basic Therian platoon structure. Big mistake in this case. If anything I really think that Cyphers would have been the way to go as it would have given Urash a lot more versatility. Mounted in Nimit, he is limited to using strider routines which are not very useful when there is only one strider and four infantry units. If he had access to all of the routines, he would have been much more of an asset on the battlefield.

3) Striders, striders, striders! Do not ignore the striders! I have put off buying any of the type 1 striders since I wanted to wait until the Succubus is released, but really I am convinced now that I need to have some just so that I can create them during the game. I know that there was a lot of debate about the Creation routine that I will need to go through to make sure that I play it right but I really think that it would be worth it. A Hekat or two running around today probably could have taken out the Red Blok Sierp which would have made life much easier. Plus it would have made Steve and John really think more about picking their targets with more and more striders simply appearing on the board. Needless to say Hekats have moved way up on my list now; in fact I will probably pick up one or two of those next.

Even with all of my blunders with both my own force and just trying to remember all of the rules, I really enjoyed myself and I am looking forward to playing some more larger games in the not-too-distant future.

And next time, I will remember to bring the camera.