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!).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A felted mapboard - En Cuarto!!!

I finally steeled my resolve and decided to dive in and construct a mapboard en cuarto - fancy talk for a map you can fold to one quarter size. This is great for storage and travel. I was going to do another tutorial but  I had about twenty photos, which when I got done loading and captioning led me to realize that I would need about twenty more to explain what I had done and so I decided to just show you the finished deal and if anybody is actually going to try and make one they can ask me any questions here. I'll save us all, okay, mostly me, a lot of time and effort.

A folded into quarter mapboard with a standard ruler for scale.

The mapboard open and ready for action!

From the underside you can see the two bi-fold pieces joined together along one half their length.

In the two photos above the board begins to be folded up.
In the two photos below you see the completed folding process.

Return to the top photo and see the finished effect.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Dwarven shot at redemption

The Dwarven honor code required that they honor the Dark Elf request, but slaying Umenzi just wasn't right. After the battle, they raced to the badly injured elephant and began nursing it back to health. While it recovered they took some measurements, went to the workshop, used a little Dwarven ingenuity, and got to work.

Meanwhile, Drogan Tieden stewed and fumed over his humiliating defeat. Time and again he went over the battle in his head, doggedly determined to discover whose fault it was that he was defeated so thoroughly. At length he decided it was is parent's fault, though he had killed them years ago. "Not soon enough." He thought to himself. Deciding blame was pointless, he began working on his next plan. He conferred with the wizard Olein Vasynyt (in Dark Elven, Y's are pronounced as the o's in moon, just like in Finnish) who had a reputation for invisibility magic. Now his only problem is finding enough troops to fight for him, what with his reputation at an ebb. He finally recruited a few desperadoes and as always, he could rely on getting Lowbloods to fill out his ranks. When he heard of an Umenzi force moving along the cliffs of Krebb, even though he didn't have the numbers of troops he wanted, he had his secret weapon...

As the armies neared each other, the Umenzi were hidden behind a ridgeline, but the head of the Great War Elephant could be seen as they neared the rise.

Drogan Tieden had found some Lash Mistresses with nothing to lose, and a coven of Purebloods whose Umenzi hatred he had whipped into a fury, finally, he had found several hundred Lowblood who wanted "somewhere to go and something to do."

But soft, what comes lightly tripping this way? What type of infernal contraption have these Umenzi brought along this time?

Those darn Dwarves had strapped their Ballistae on the back of the Great War Elephant!!!

Girding his loins, the outlook seemed bleak for Drogan Tieden, especially since the bolts seemed to be aimed at the Lord of Dusk himself. Well, two can play at that game he thought to himself as he unleashed his full (4) 6/6 fury on the Ballistae.

The lines crashed into each other and the fighting was furious, but the end seemed pretty certain as the ounumbered DE found themselves losing badly in trades they could ill afford. Just when the battle seemed all but decided, Drogan Tieden layed down his newest and most fearsome card.

 The Dark Elf Bird of Prey


This was perfidy run amok! The spell description said that the invisibility lasted until the unit attacked, but that was long enough! From the rear, charging the poor pachyderm.

 But alas, the DE line crumbled. Or, more accurately, went poof in one turn!

Now the problem for the Umenzi was how to get the army reoriented to face the remaining purebloods.

The Coven dodged the Chosen and the Lash Mistresses pulled them in...To their ultimate demise (poor Lash Mistresses). And so the battle ended, another Umenzi victory.

But what Of Drogan Tieden, for whom such carnage resulted? When the last Lowbloods perished, he and his house charged the Elephant, having destroyed the Ballistae, but it was a last ride to death as he had only one red box left and the Elephant was still in the green. The elephant did ultimately perish at the hands of the Drake Riders, who then flew away.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Aftermath: The Dark Elf Escape

Drogan Tieden, Lord of Dusk, had suffered an ignoble defeat, but it wasn't his fault. A storm unlike any storm ever before seen in the entire region had brought Umenzi hellfire and ruin upon them. Now, it was up to him to lead his precious pureblood nobles out of danger. The storm had lifted, but even that had brought no comfort, for he could see the enemy van closing in on his wounded host. In the lead was that infernal monstrosity, the Great War Elephant, followed by the goofy witchdoctors and chicken s**t spearchuckers. Suddenly he smiled as the first of the rolling hills with the narrow rising road hove into view. Preparing for any eventuality, he had called in all the markers that he had upon the local dwarven clans.

Fearing the worst, and suddenly seeing a smile appear on the face of his master, Paneer Josh suspected something was up. He asked Drogan Tieden why he was smiling, what thought could possibly have crossed his mind as doom was howling close behind. He did not understand the reply he heard...

"All I need is a pass and a dwarf, and I can hold these clowns for hours!"

The Sandy terrain on either side of the road before the cliff is the steep shoulder of the elevated road as it climbs up to the clifftops where the Dwarves have thrown a barricade across to slow down the Umenzi. I wanted a chance to use the cliff terrain pieces now that it suddenly donned on me what they were! I intend to showcase some interesting terrain set ups for different battles.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Felted Terrain set

I like felted terrain because it doesn't get jostled when you play on a felted surface. Although it is a little thicker, it lays much flatter. Again, I just prefer higher quality components and this is it for the terrain sets. I had originally mounted them on foam core but I didn't like the greatly increased storage hassle and the way the cards cantilevered off the terrain pieces.

Okay, I'm not going to do a whole tutorial on felting the terrain because its not rocket science. Here are the basic steps:

To start you want two sets of terrain since you're felting one side.
1. First you need to cut each set down into 8.5X11 sheets.
2. Match all the sheets with their counterparts and do the next step matching one set at a time, so you don't end up sticking felt to the same sides of the two identical pieces!
3. Peel the backing off the felt and lay it down on the table and then lay the map section on top of that. It helps if you have a straight edge to place the felt against and then place the edge of the map to that and let it hinge down into place.
4. Trim the edges and be sure to trim off the curved edges from the fold. This will remove about an eighth of an inch from the side, but make the whole piece lay flat and look great.
5. When you are all done you want to take a dark felt tip marker and "edge" the white edge of the map where it has been cut. This may not seem like a big deal, but it really looks sharp (or more accurately, it really hides the otherwise shiny white edge of the terrain). The terrain pieces are printed on thick paper stock and when trimmed there is a noticeable white edge.
6. The really big hills that are printed across the fold can be addressed in one of two ways:
a) You can leave them a one big piece and put two felt pieces on the back and they will have a slight ridge at the fold (be sure and leave about an eighth of an inch between the two felt pieces or the map won't fold), or:
b) You can cut them in half, felt each piece, and match them up when playing.

Either way works and it is a matter of taste.
I personally don't like the crease and so mine are cut. If you cut them, check and double check that you are adhering the felt to the matching sides. If you go this route you will want to trim a little more than a sixteenth of an inch or so off the folded edge because the two pieces won't lay flat otherwise. I'd go closer to an eighth than a sixteenth of an inch because if you go too little it won't cut right and then you'll have to cut another thicker piece and that is less desirable (voice of experience here). Also, you want to be sure and edge with a dark marker because the white map edge is more obvious on bigger pieces. When you edge, hold the map with the felt side towards you because you will invariable slip off the edge and getting a little ink mark on the felt is much better than getting it on the map.

Dark Elves vs. Umenzi series replay

James and I finally locked horns this weekend and it was the Umenzi bringing the pain to the Dark Elves. This is the first battle fought on my new felted board with felted bases with felted terrain. The Forces were arrayed thusly:

Spears    Shaman   Shaman             High priests
Jav       Jav          Jav     Warriors          Spear  Possessed   GWE

LB Levy          LB Levy           LB Levy         LB Levy       LB Levy        
 Blade Dancers  Lash M           Lords of D                 Lash Mistresses

Map 3D Scenario: Breaking Point  Special Conditions: Stormy Weather

Stormy weather turned out to be the perfect storm for Dark Elf hell. Max range nuked to 14" shut down Lord of Dusk mapboard chicanery and Umenzi spells anesthetized pain touch. As if that wasn't enough, my good Orcish dice eluded me, I failed lots of Courage checks early on, and my Lords only inflicted five wounds all game!

The early game started out well enough and everybody was moving and positioning as they should. James kept the nerf on my Lords so they were only rolling three dice all game.

 Here we have a rules question. The front center point of the Lash Mistresses is not on the hill, therefore they cannot see the GWE who they are Range order modified to attack (the #8 on the GWE) so I attack the Possessed instead. Was that right?
Things start deteriorating rapidly for the Dark Elves. The Lowbloods are too spread out and are getting pinched all over by the Umenzi and the heavier pureblood units are doing little or no damage. The Blade Dancers are advancing really slowly as they swing wide.

And everybody dies. By turn four I have lost all but one of my levy (four) and my Lash mistresses facing the GWE go poof this turn. I concede as I'm about one unit shy of James getting his victory and I've only killed the Possessed. My play was poor, my Dice were poorer, and my cool gameboard did not intimidate James.

This game ended far too quickly for there to be any MVPs or goats, but here are some observations I made:
1) If you're going to go with cheap line units keep them together, don't fan out to cover a broader front.

2) LOS means that your units block your LOS also.

3) You are never going to out Umenzi the Umenzi, don't even try to match them cheap unit for cheap unit.

4) If you are going to do any damage with Lowblodd Levy you have to have at least average dice! ;-)

5) You absolutely cannot count on James screwing up!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Making a felted Battle Board

I've been doing a lot with felt lately and I wanted to try making a felted board. Most of us just play on felt layed out on the table and if we want to get fancy we draw the deployment zones on it. One of the advantages to a felt mat is that it is quite portable and easy to store. However, one of the drawbacks is that it becomes stretched over time and then you're not up to tournament specs. Yeah, unless you're Dave or Kevin it probably isn't a big deal. D & K are great guys, and they run and organize tourneys, so it is important to them. Then there are those of us who get off on cool components. That's the real reason I made a felted board.

First we need to look at the essential supplies needed to make a felted board.

2 sheets of 3/16" foam core in the 20" X 30" size.
A roll of duct tape (what project is complete with out it!)
A 36" X 36" piece of felt (as shown in the foto below, it comes in this size)
A can of spray adhesive.

Please feel free to ignore the Elmers white bi-fold foam board, That is for my next project to show how to make a board that folds on quarto for easier portaging. It is a little more involved and I wanted to see if just making a board that folds in half would work first. In place of the above mentioned item try picturing a can of spray adhesive instead, I always feel like I'm taking a million pictures and then I leave out something pretty basic. Go figure.
Next you want to line the two pieces of foam core up along their long sides so you have a 30" X 40" board and tape them with a few small pieces of duct tape first to secure them in position and then run a long piece along the entire length (another photo I forgot to take).

The nice thing about a 36" square piece of felt from the store is that it is pretty square. The drawback is that it comes folded so you really want to iron the creases out. You absolutely want it as perfect as possible for the ultimate end effect.

Notice that I have put some Saran Wrap at the edges of the table. This is so that when I lay the adhesive coated board over it the overlapping sides don't get glued to the table.

Next I measured for the center of the felt. This is am important mark because this is where you want the fold to go, since the felt comes in exactly 36X36 and the board is 30X36, you have to be right on along the 36" edge.

                       I have layed heavy boards across the new board to press it tightly together.
I have sprayed the adhesive fairly liberally on the side of the felt with the tape! This is crucial because you want the side with the felt to be the inside. If it is on the other side the felt will tear when you close the board. In the picture of the finished board below you can see why you want the felt on the inside.

As I mention above, finding the center is very important. I was careful to measure twice and as you can see below, I had to make a correction. I am weighting it down with an older felt board I made for a different miniatures game that needed a 3 foot by 4 foot board. Try not to get the two boards confused!
When you line this up the eges off to the left and right in this photo will be right on and you just need to trim the top and bottom as shown in the next pictures.

Next I let it dry about half an hour so it could be turned over safely and then I used a rolling pin to smooth it out and make sure there were no bumps or anything.

The next step is to trim the excess felt from the 30" sides. 

Carefull hold the blade at a 45 degree angle and make a cut as shown. Yes, I have freakishly large hands, which comes in handy in my avocation as a masseusse, but makes me really precision challenged for this type of work.

Then all you have to do is let it dry for a while and then draw on the set up area. The outside dimensions of the board may not be exactly 30X36, but it is more important to make sure that the two start areas are 15" apart. If the actual depth of the start up areas is a little less than seven and a half inches you can let the back row guys hang off a sixteenth or so, but you definitely want the the forces at regulation distance! 

 Here is the finished board. Note the forty inch width allows 2" extra on either side. I left it on rather than to trim it because occasionally one can need to swing outside the regular play area to final rush, as talked about on the forum.

 Here is a picutre of the board folded. The actual board folds up perfectly, but for some reason every photo I took came out like this, which makes it look off.

So there you have it. At some time in the future I will take a stab at making a board that folds up into quarter size and if it works maybe I'll bring it to Council this Columbus day. Coming up next I will show my felt backed terrain and hopefully soon I will get up a game with James and I throwing down with all the components I have constructed so you can see them in action!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ridges-New terrain feature

We knew the cursed Dark Elves were coming across the plains, and we also knew that to face them in the open with nowhere to hide would see us get scorched by their infernal magiks. Their was one hope however, if we could engage them to the West we could take advantage of some gentle slopes and surprise them as they came over the ridge, if not surprise them, at least hold them off till we could get within range with our bows...

For our purposes here a ridge is defined as a line from which all ground drops away at a very gradual rate. To represent this on the battle area use a 3 1/2 foot piece of string. This represents the crest of a gradual ridge. A ridge serves to block LOS but confers no combat advantages. If a ridge passes over a hill then the hills still counts as normal for movement penalties, LOS, and combat mods. A ridge can be as straight or as curvy as you wish, but it is best to keep the curves fairly gradual or it could lead to confusion and arguments.

A unit that has any open edge adjacent to the ridge can see over it, and likewise can be seen. To avoid any confusion always clarify with your opponent your intentions. Large or colossal units and cavalry that are within 2.5" of the Ridge are treated as though they were adjacent.
In this photo the Dark Elves are all to the left of the ridge and cannot see any of the Hawkskold troops except the Longbowmen who are between the hills and have stated that they are on the ridgeline.

In this diagonally running ridge The Longbowmen are visible as they have stated they are on the ridge line and the two other Hawkshold units that are on the same side of the ridge as the Dark Elves are also visible.

With the Ridge running lengthwise the troops of both armies that are on the same side of the ridge can see each other as normal and the Longbowmen who are straddling the ridge can see as if there were no ridge. One of the Lords of Dusk is adjacent to the Ridge, so it too can see normally.

The effects of a drought have left this lake bed dry except for its marshy center. As some slaves make their way across the crater at the behest of the Lords of Dusk, a unit of Longbowment has appeared to shower them with arrows...until the Lords of Dusk shower them with magical plasma!
If you choose to play using a blind setup where both sides setup before revealing their deployment, a ridge acts as a justification for this "Blindness." In this case, Carthaginian foresight should still be used to reveal the foresighted deployment first, as Hannibal's ability recreates his deft tactical knowledge of his opponent's intentions, not on any actual scouted knowledge.