Welcome to Gull's own Battleground Blog!

This is my personal space about YMG's Battleground: Fantasy and Historical Warfare miniatureless miniatures game. If you love miniatures wargames, but are put off by the expense in time and money of collecting and painting all those figures, this is the game for you! If you are unfamiliar with Battleground simply click on the tutorial link below and watch a quick sample combat. Next, click on the forum link and meet some really great folks who will be responsive and answer all your questions. If you are already familiar with BG:FW&HW this site is an adjunct to the forums where I put up my own brand of replays and and stuff that just wouldn't fit in the forum (but I'll post links!).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Battleground: Warmachine

 A variant for a Warmachine-like feel for Battleground
Warmachine is owned by Privateer Press http://privateerpress.com/warmachine

                           Welcome to WARMACHINE
WARMACHINE is set in the Iron Kingdoms, an environment that combines the best of traditional fantasy with steam-power and gunpowder. Across the realm, ancient rivalries among nations are exploding into all-out conflict, setting the stage for WARMACHINE and other Iron Kingdom products.
In WARMACHINE, players take on the role of an elite soldier-sorcerer known as a warcaster. While a warcaster is a formidable force on the battlefield, their true strength is in their ability to magically control and coordinate the actions of their mighty warjacks—steam-powered combat automatons that represent the pinnacle of military might in the Iron Kingdoms.
Each warjack is a fifteen foot tall ironclad behemoth, a coal-fired engine of destruction with a primitive magical brain. On its own a warjack is capable of only the most rudimentary actions, but when controlled by a warcaster its efficiency and deadliness increase dramatically.
WARMACHINE focuses on battles between warcasters and the titanic forces that they control. A game is fought with a warjack's thundering cannons, ripping iron-claws, and crushing hammer blows, as well as devastating spells wrought by the warcaster himself. When the dust settles, one side is victorious and the other is nothing but smoking scrap metal!

In the BG:WM variant all Large and larger units are considered Warjacks (jacks). Any other unit may be considered a Warcaster by writing W on the card and paying the extra points (see below). All Warcasters are considered an elite type and have the elite limitation of 1 per 1000 points.

Warjacks - All Warjacks have these traits:
Gain a ranged attack of 14" equal to their engaged attack,  if they don't already have a ranged attack.
Always considered to have the Close standing order unless direct controlled.
May be Augmented
Are immune to Pschological effects
Suffer a -1 to MC and # of attack dice if in the Yellow
Suffer a -2 to MC and # of attack dice if in the Red

Augment: It costs one command action to place an Augment on a warjack. This is signified by placing a die with a one on it on the card. Additional command actions may be spent to raise the augmentation to as high as six, just turn the die to show the current augmentation level. Augmentation is stored permanently on the jack's card until used. During the appropriate phase a player may spend up to one point of the jack's current augmentation on each ability to raise it by one:
Add a die to the attack dice, add one to the weapon skill, strength, defense skill, or toughness.
also, one point may be spent to add +1 MC to the jack.  No Command card effects or Warcaster bonuses stack with augmented stats.

Throw - If a jack is engaged with another jack, compare the wounds caused by each and if one of the Jack's caused more damage it may choose to throw the other jack. Measure from the mid point adjacent to the throwing jack and place that midpoint S times the number of wounds caused in excess of the wounds it suffered, in any orientation desired, away from its starting position. If it lands on top of another unit count the number of center points on top of the other card, that is the number of Strength 6 hits the unit suffers, roll for damage. No cards or augmentation may be played during throw damage resolution.  If multiple jacks are attacking one jack, each jack compares against the defender. Only if one jack has caused more wounds than any other jack may it throw another jack.
Example:Two jacks are attacking one jack. the defending jack does one point of damage and each of the attacking jacks does two points of damage. No one jack caused more wounds than any other jack, therefore no jack is thrown.

Warcasters - Warcasters are identified by writing a "W" on the front of any non-Large or larger unit and paying 150% of the regular cost. In all other respects the unit retains all of its other abilities. For 175% of its regular cost a unit may be made a Warcaster with Black Powder Weaponry. During the Movement and Command phase unengaged warcaster may direct control any warjack that is within 5". During the combat phase a warcaster may "direct" one warjack within 5" and grant it (+0)/+1/+1 and +1/+0 (just write a big +1), this blessing lasts for the entire combat phase.

Black Powder Weaponry - Any unit may be given black powder weapons which have a range of 7" and the same stats as the unit if engaged, for 125% of the regular cost. A unit with a Close standing order will not fire its black powder weapons.

Try a 1000 or 1500 point game with just warjacks and warcasters first, then add a few units and go with 2000+ points. As always with these variants, I can't guarantee that the points will still make for a balanced game, but it should at least be fun.

This variant is not a Warmachine simulation, there are too many flavorful things about that system to be adequately addressed here, but it should give you the feel and essence of Warmachine, with out all the expense and painting.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Recusant's Chosen (Hawkshold subfaction)

The Recusant is a charismatic figure. He defies all Royal authority as he preaches his doctrine of purification. He is carried about on a large pedestal, chained to an icon, beaten and bleeding. His faith inspires the simple peasants and confounds foes.

Use the Hawkshold faction deck. Any build must include a Heavy Infantry unit with a tapezoid drawn on it to represent the Recusant. This unit gains the Fearsome keyword.

The faction has the same courage ability as Hawkshold and the Recusant has the following spells:

Withering Regard: (curse) Range: Battlefield. For 1 command action an enemy unit suffers -1/-1. This effect lasts until the unit is eliminated or Withering Regard is placed on another unit. Only one Withering Regard may be in effect at any one time.

Fanaticism of Faith: (Blessing) Range: Battlefield. For 1 command action mark the bravery box on a Peasant Mob, it gains +1/+1/+1  -1/-1 and ignores all effects from being in the red or yellow, and is immune to all psychological effects. Cards may not be played on peasants with marked check boxes.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Great Goblin (new subfaction)

Recently there is a new threat from the Outlands. Rumors are heard everywhere of a goblin scourge that is sweeping the wastes and is about to cross into the civilized world. A fearsome (just the adjective, not the keyword) horde that follows an inimical leader called The Great Goblin.

This subfaction is built using the Orc deck. One unit with "Orc" in its name is required and this represents the Great Goblin and his henchmen. The rest of the units in the army must have "Goblin" in their name.

Faction Ability: Taste the Lash - as Orc Faction, except only units which begin their movement within 3.5" of the Great Goblin may be lashed. For one command action all goblin units within Range may be considered lashed. The player may lash some, move the Great Goblin and lash others. Any goblin unit within 3.5" of the Great Goblin adds +2 to its Courage. The Great Goblin may be lashed.

Poison Arrows - During any missile attack, if goblin bowmen cause at least one damage, they cause one additional damage. The Goblin Bomb-Chucker does not have poison arrows.

Crazed Goblin Bombchucker (Standard not Elite) - All Great Goblin Bombchuckers are "upgraded" to roll 3D6 for the number of attack dice rolled, if any two of those dice are equal then the Bombchucker takes two damage and additionally reverts back to 2D6 and follows the normal rules after that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BG:Siege trial card game

Lazyj and I are developing the BG:Siege game for YMG and development has been put on hiatus while RL consumes Lazyj.:-(
As you might guess, long protracted sieges are very boring, its when the breach occurrs that things get very interesting very quickly. One of our ideas for the long boring part was to simulate it with a card game, the results of which would determine the characteristics of the actual breach or failure of the attackers to create a breach. This card game, which we call "Breach!" is a very experimental part of the BG:Siege system, but as its own game it is fun to play and can be played with a standard 52 card deck.

The game is won by having the most cards in your victory pile.

The game is played as a series of tricks which consist of a lunge and parry. Each player plays a card face up, the first card played is called the lunge and the parry is the second card played.
To begin each player is dealt a hand of seven cards. Each hand is played until empty and then the players are dealt a new hand of seven cards. After three hands the game is over and the players tally their points to determine the winner. In the actual BG:Siege game, the attacker takes the first lunge, if playing Breach! by itself, cut the deck and low card goes first. Thereafter, the winner of the previous hand goes first.

After the lunge and parry, the cards are compared and the lowest card wins.  Aces are low, except all Kings beat an Ace. This keeps in context the flavor of Battleground where low dice are good.
Example: A Jack beats a Queen, which beats a King, and a King beats an Ace. Ace beats everything but a King (and ties another Ace, of course).

If the cards are equal they are placed in the discard pile.

When a trick is won, the the suit of the winning card determines the outcome:

Weapons (Clubs): Both cards are placed in the winners victory pile.
Siege Equipment (Spades) Both cards are placed in the winners victory pile.
Subterfuge (Diamonds) Both cards are placed in the winners victory pile and the winner takes a card from the loser's victory pile (winners choice of card).
Supply (Hearts) Both cards are placed in the winners victory pile and the loser discards a card from his hand (to the discard pile!). This may result in one player going out first. When that happens the other player places the rest of his hand in his victory pile.

That's it!

At first when we played, we thought that you would just play your best card and go from there. After a couple of hands we discovered there was some strategy. After about ten hands we decided the game was very addicting!

For the siege game we are working on having the contents of the victory pile give you certain conditions that flavor the set up of the siege and decide the kind of breach and the opponents readiness etc. That is why the winner of a subterfuge trick gets to pick which card goes in his victory pile, in a non BG:Siege game of Breach! it doesn't really matter which card you choose. BG:Siege may be some time away yet, but until then I want everybody to have a chance to hone their Breach! skills.

Oh, and if anybody has some mad graphics skills and wants to do up a Siege deck that would be awesome sauce!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Battleground:Diplomacy (kingdoms variant)

I have always loved Avalon Hill's game Diplomacy. It has occurred to me that with slight tweaking it could make a very doable Battleground campaign engine.

The basic concept is this:

The game plays in all respects like Diplomacy except rather than the abstract combat/influence resolution system you overlay Battleground combat with battles generated by Kingdoms.

In Diplomacy you get a certain number of armies based on how many supply centers you control. You then give these armies move commands which are simultaneously revealed. If opposing armies try to move into the same territory they have a standoff or "bounce" and neither occupies the territory. If you designate an adjacent army as supporting your army to move and your opponent just has a single army with no support, your army will occupy the territory.

In the BG:D variant, instead of bouncing, equally matched armies will fight a kingdoms generated battle and a decisive victory gets your army into the space. If you have an army supporting your army, then even a marginal victory will get you the space. If you draw then you bounce.
The map and the rules can be downloaded from this site free of charge:

Here are some general rules to apply that will make sense once you read the rules.

All fleet combat is handled as per regular Diplomacy rules.

A fleet can support an army in BG:D just like in regular Diplomacy.

I'll add more as they come up.

Victory conditions are the same.

There are 35 supply centers on the map and control of 18 wins you the game. The result of a game of diplomacy is almost never assured as there is always the chance that all of the other players might actually trust through desperation and dismantle the leader. It doesn't happen as often as you'd think, but it happens often enough that you really never do know who is going to win.

The game accomodates up to seven players and has rules for fewer, even down to two. The two player version is called World War I for the obvious reason that there is no Diplomacy. It is generally considered not a fun way to play, but that isn't the case with BG:D as the battle resolution mechanic changes the whole feel around.

I really wish I had a dedicated game group with seven players as Diplomacy itself is a great game and with a regular gaming club this would be sweet.

I played Diplomacy online through an automated moderator and it is the funnest non-BG:FW gaming experience I have ever had, and that is saying a lot because I have gamed for over 30 years and have tried just about everything.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Solitaire Scenario: Undead Scourge.

Place a woods terrain on the opposing player side and this will be where the Undead spawn. Build and deploy a 2000 point army. Place other terrain, if any, as you choose.
At the beginning of the undead turn, if there is no undead unit even partially in the woods, place another undead unit from the top of the spawn pile in the woods with its front card edge touching the front edge, if there is another undead unit blocking the front edge you may place it facing as per normal closest enemy unit rules. It may Final Rush if legal. All undead have the Close standing order throughout the game. The Undead Army is placed in a pile in this order: zombie horde, zombie horde, zombie horde, Zombie Trolls, zombie horde, Zombie Trolls, zombie horde, Zombie Trolls, zombie horde, Zombie Trolls, zombie horde. Zombies have no Command Actions and may not re-animate.  When an undead unit is destroyed put it under the pile at the board edge and it will spawn when its turn arrives. If all the undead are on the board then none will spawn.
No friendly unit may enter the spawning ground. A unit on Close will move in base to base contact with the spaning grounds and will be considered engaged with any undead unit in the spawning grounds. The spawning grounds are considered an enemy unit for the purposes of determining "closest enemy unit."
Turn One:
The first turn starts with the Player's shooting phase.
 If at the beginning of any undead turn there are no undead on the board the spell is broken and the player wins.

If I have left any relevant details out please let me know!

Solitaire Scenario: Final Developement

This is my final playtest of the solitaire scenario. This is a session report and then I will post the final scenario in a following post.
This is the initial set up. In the center I have Blade dancers flanked by four lowblood levies, all are on Close. To the right I have two Dusk Lords folowed by a Coven who are on Hold with modifiers on the far side of the board.
At the end of turn one the woods have spawned their first zombie and the DE have moved forward. Unlike my first two games, this time I am moving to engage quickly. My plan is to hold them at the woods and snipe them from beside with the Dusk Lords.

End of turn two and all is going according to plan.

End of turn three and the first zombie has been one-shotted after a double flank. If you click on this foto you can also see that I've attached some felt circles to the back of the counters so I can pick them up more easily. The courage test and fear test counters are two-sided.

End of turn four sees the emergence of the first zombie trolls.

End of turn five sees the general swirling melee. The Dusk Lords have finally moved into position and are about to show their worth...

Woops, as the end of turn six reveals, all the action is occurring out of the dusk lords LOS.

The end of turn seven shows the undead trolls pinched while the Blade Dancers are engaged to the side by some zombies. This slow melee allows the BDs to get pumped up to three extra attacks.
The end of turn eight shows the continued absence of undead reinforcements as the Dusk Lords keep eliminating them. This should be cake.
The end of turn nine shows the appearance of another troll as the lowblood levy begins slipping away and allowing the dusk lords some open shots.
The end of turn ten shows a third Troll appearing! At this point the Coven begins augmenting the lowblood levy who are getting six dice, while the dusk lords are trying to do their best without coven assisstance.
The end of turn eleven shows the demise of the Troll on the undead left flank and the center troll can't get off the woods so no reinforcements are appearing.  Both low blood levies failed rout tests as things are beginning to fall apart on the DE left flank.
The end of turn twelve shows that one troll was eliminated and a zombie has materialized. One lowblood was rallied right away and is now engaged with a troll and the other was allowed to rout out of the way of the other (fresher) low blood levy who is rushing in on the remaining troll.
The end of turn Thirteen shows awesome die that spelled the end for the trolls. At this point nothing is left of the undead on the board and the DE are at the woods. Game Over. The scourge has been stopped and the spell broken.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Runegard subfaction: Frost Dwarves

In the frigid southern pole is the realm of the Frost Dwarves. A peaceable folk, they were forced to turn to the ways of war when they found they had neighbors, the Ice Elves.

Frost Dwarves use the Dwarves of Runegard Deck minus the Antonian Horsemen. Additionally, they use the Hill Giant, the Earth Elemental, and the Elementalist from the Monsters and Mercenary faction. These units are considered part of the faction, not mercenaries!

Frost Dwarves may not sprint.

The Hammermen are considered core. This is to represent the profundity of two handed ice picks among the Frost Dwarves!

The Earth Elemental is considered a bumble (like a giant abominable snowman) and the Hill Giant is considered a Frost Giant, they are identical to the M&M creatures they replace except as modified by the puppeteer.

The Elementalist is a Dwarven Puppeteer. It acts in all ways as the Elementalist. In addition, on any turn it does not cast a spell it may nullify the stupidity keyword, change a Frost Giant standing order, and/or direct control any Frost Giant or bumble within 3.5".

Frost Dwarves never leave their frozen realm.

New subfaction: Ice Elves

In the frozen southern extremity is the domain of the Ice Elves. High Elves that went south, all the way south, and found that they liked it. They developed warfare unique to the frigid climes and learned to travel on skis and Ice Riggers.

Guidelines for combat with the Ice Elves.

Use the High Elves deck, remove all mounted troops but the Chariots.

Ice Elf faction abilities

Precision as for High Elves
Maneuver Mastery as per High Elves
No sprint.
Schussblitz - All Ice Elf units gain +1MC final Rush range and +1 impact hit.

Chariots represent Ice Riggers. Wind powered lateen sailed craft (like modern yachts). May not enter any terrain other than hills, lakes, and rivers. Lakes and rivers are ice covered and treated as clear terrain. If at any time during the Movement and command phase the entire card is on ice covered terrain add +2 to the printed MC. If a Final Rush would carry it over such terrain add +2 to final rush range and +2 impact hits.

Ice Elves are only found in frozen climes, so any scenario with them is a winter scenario and all the ice rules are in effect.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kingdoms variant: Crystal Vale Campaign

The Crystal Vale is a pleasant enough sounding valley in the Runegard Mountains, but every summer during the season it becomes the most fought over, hotly contested, and bloodiest land in the known world. In short, it becomes a "Battleground."

Life can be very good in the world, magical furnaces in each realm ensure that there is enough food, warmth, and light for everyone in the land. The magical furnaces insure good harvests, good fishing, all manner of convenience and luxury items that go into making a viable world. All that you need is to keep a steady supply of Mana crystals feeding the fires.

If you don't have mana crystals life becomes nasty, brutish, and short.

Mana crystals feed the fires that provide all the wonders that a magical fantasy world can provide. The trouble is, they are hard to get and there is never enough and they eventually burn out.

The Crystal Vale is where mana crystals are found. Every spring fresh mana crystals boil to the surface from fiery depths. Rangers, freebooters, and other adventurers delve into the vale when the snow recedes to find the "Crystal Blows." They rush back through one of the narrow passes to bring news to their faction of the whereabouts of rich mana crystal deposits. Armies, ready and waiting, descend into the vale with their harvesting tools and pack drakes to get the crystals out of the vale and bring them home.

There are never enough crystals to feed the furnaces that provide all that a society demands as its right and competition is fierce. Who will return successful and who will return empty handed?

Oh yeah, and there are the dragons too. Dragons love to collect the crystals and hoard them in their lair...

The Rules

Each Crystal Vale Campaign turn is played in two phases. Each phase consists of a number of battles equal to half the number of players. The Collection phase and the return phase. In the Collection phase factions battle to collect Mana Crystals and in the Return phase they try to capture the mana crystals from each other.

The Collection Phase

The Collection phase has 1/2 as many battles as players (i.e. In a four player game there are two battles fought by each player). Opponents are randomly chosen

There are two facets to a Crystal Vale Collections phase battle that are new to Battleground:Fantasy Warfare: A Crystal Blow and a Crystal camp.

A Crystal Blow is represented by a piece of paper 2.5" X 3.5" ideally suitably colored. Sleeve this in a card protector and write the value of the Crystal Blow on the card when it is determined. Alternatively, just use a spare map card.

When issuing Standing Orders label one unit as carrying the Crystal Camp. This represents the equipment and pack drakes used to collect and pack out the mana crystals. Along with the Crystal Camp include any crystal cards you may have already recovered/captured (just place them under the camp card after setup). During the battle, if a Crystal Camp Card is the only card in base to base contact with the  Crystal Blow it may move on top of it and in subsequent turns it may attempt to move it off the map board on its home edge. If it does this the player wins. If the unit with the crystal camp is destroyed the opposing player writes Crystal Camp on any unit in base to base contact and captures any Mana Crystals held by that unit, if the unit was destroyed by ranged fire or if for any reason there is no unit in base to base contact with it when it is destroyed, then the first unit to come into base to base contact with the unit captures the Crystal Camp (in this situation leave the destroyed unit card on the map until the Crystal Camp is captured. Crystal camps may change hands more than once. When an army surrenders it loses its crystal camp to its opponent. A player must keep track of all crystal camps in his possession and must assign one to each unit in a battle.

Collection phase procedure for generating a battle:
1. If multiple players, randomly determine opponents.
2. Use deck 5 and randomly select a map.
3. Roll 2d6 and consult the table below:
Special Situations and Dragons table.
     2 - draw 2 special situations. Each player draws a card and rolls to generate a special
           situation that effects only him.
3,4,5 - generate a special situation normally.
6,7,8 - Nil
9,10 - Red Dragon
    11 - Ancient Red Dragon
    12 - Ancient Red Dragon and Red Dragon!

Dragons are placed on top of the Crystal Blow with a Hold Standing Order. They breathe at the first unit in range, roll randomly for ties. If two dragons, they are placed back to back and the ancient red dragon will pivot to face the nearest enemy unit and the red dragon will remain in rear edge to edge contact. If a dragon fails a courage test it is eliminated (it decided the crystals weren't worth it and flies away).

Place Crystal Blow in the Center of the map. Roll a D6 to determine number of Mana crystals in blow (1=1, 2-5=2, 6=3) and write that on card.

The player whose Crystal Camp exits his home edge with the Crystals wins, if no one exits with the crystals then play as per Total warfare except ignore regular Victory Point rules and instead the winner collects all the Mana Crystals.

Return Phase

Now the factions are trying to get back home with as many mana crystals as possible. To Generate battles for the return phase follow the regular Kingdoms rules except ignore any scenario card that does not use total warfare to determine the victory conditions. Again, winner collects all mana crystals. To determine who battles who each player rolls 2D6 and adds one point per mana crystal they possess. Starting with lowest total, each player selects an opponent until all have rolled or been selected. The Return phase has 1/2 as many battles as players (i.e. In a four player game there are two battles fought by each player). Roll to determine opponents after each battle.

At the end of the Return phase each player totals their Mana points to see who has the most and wins the game by having the happiest populace.

Please let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions or comments after playing!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Deck boxes old style w/Tutorial

As much as I like the new style boxes, they just take up too darn much space in my "briefcase o' death" and so I went for the original style tuck boxes, but without the tucking top. Having a cover adds some issues because they get weak at the fold and ultimately the whole top is not neccessary for my personal use. I took a bunch of pictures as I made one so that people could see what I was doing and talking about.
First we have the tools. From left to right we have a tube of craft glue, a razor with a snap blade that facilitates quickly snapping off a dull blade and having a sharp one ready to go. Next is a metal ruler for scoring and cutting, a regualr ruler for all actual measuring, and finally my scoring tool. Beneath all that you see my green cutting mat. You can get by with some cardboard or plywood to cut upon.

Here are two views of the template I made. It really is all about the template. Do whatever you need to do to get it squared up and then measure the pattern. The rectangles labeled 1 & 3 are 65mm x 90mm. That will comfortably house the 2.5"x3.5" deck. #2 & #4 are 40mm wide and that accomodates a full faction deck with action cards unsleeved. If you sleeve your deck you will need to measure its hight and that will be the length you use where I have used 40mm dimensions. The bottom row #6 thru #9 are all 40mm deep which you will also want to be the same as your new dimension if you are sleeving the deck. The skinny #5 is a glue flap. To make the template I drew the pattern on it and then made a pin hole at all the vertices. I place the template over a fresh piece of material and punch pin holes.

TIP Notice that the holes are in 3 rows. Methodically proceed down each roll punching the holes. If you miss a hole you will find it is almost impossible to line the template up again and it will be quicker to grab a clean sheet and start over (Yes, this is the voice of hard-won experience).
 Next you want to score all lines. Ideally you want to just scrape the surface but not cut down into the material or you will find it weakened and seperating over time.

Next you want to cut all around the outside as well as the bottom flaps.

Then you want to fold all the creases.
Finally you want to fold over the glue flap and apply glue to it. Fold the other end around as shown and line up the bottom flap edges as shown. Don't worry about the other end as that won't be getting a top and to get everything lined up perfectly may be beyond your modeling skill (as it certainly is in my case!).

The scoring tool indicates where you want to make sure it lines up. At this point you want to let the glue dry for a bit. This is when I usually start working on the next box.
Then you want to trim the side flaps so they don't overlap.

 Then I apply glue to a bottom flap as shown and make sure I smear it to the fold edge so when I fold the other flap onto it it adheres nicely on the exposed edge.

Next I place a deck inside the box and press down firmly. I then make sure to leave the deck in the box as weight for a little while as the glue dries.
And that's it! For now I have just written the faction name on the side of the box and I lay them on their sides in my travel case. If I feel like getting fancy I will print off some labels and attach them, but first I want to make sure I like these. I believe this style box will allow me the room to add the Alexander v. Persia decks when they come out. I can hardly wait as I have been in on the play-testing and they will so rock!