Tuesday, May 23, 2017

For Manchester

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.
- Winston Churchill, June 18, 1940

I almost never comment on things political or contemporary on this blog. But Manchester was simply too, too much to ignore. Children were killed, and maimed, and all because they went to a rock concert.

To our UK readers..I share your outrage. As you supported us on 9/11. We support you now. Know that. To all those "downrange". Get some.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Module Suitability Review - King's Ransom

Image is taken from Twilight: 2000 Wiki, IP is GDW/FFE

King's Ransom is to me, "Indiana Jones meets the post apocalypse". It's chasing a valuable McGuffin (the Iranian Crown Jewels sound like something right out of a D&D game), through the devastated and unique vista of Iran. It's sweeping landscapes, and strange customs. It's all those things, and Frank Frey did a very good job tying it all together.

The story of the loss of the jewels is pretty well carried off, and their rediscovery, as well as the purpose they are put to? Straight out of something like the Maltese Falcon. The subplots, including a KGB Colonel, and a cheating wife, that could lead to the rebellion of the Communist army that the Soviets have built up in northern Iran, or a raid on the Soviet 45th Army staff. All of these things make this an adventure of unique value. One I am ashamed to say I never got a chance to run.

But how does this stack up as fodder for miniatures scenarios?

Skirmish Scenarios

We have quite a bit of fodder here, if only using the mountainous terrain of the Zagros mountains and gaming out the multiple patrol sized actions one can game out here. But there are some other ideas?

  • The initial raid on the Soviet signal company. That would make a pretty gameable scenario, and let's be honest, you'd have a use for all the specialty kits you find on the market these days!
  • The "Ducks in a Barrel" idea in the "Further Adventures" section of the book. It's a very gamable scenario, and the map is accurate enough that you could build a pretty nice terrain piece based on the map.
  • The defection of Colonel Shahrestani, this could make a good small-scale campaign if done right, and would fit right in for something like Black Ops.

Larger Scenarios

There are a few ideas here, such as gaming out the subsequent Soviet offensive that is in the offing, and you could also game out some of the Allied anti-marauder sweeps, which are described quite well in the book, though most marauder bands in the Allied held zone are not much larger than platoon sized bands,

But I like the idea of gaming out the rebellion of the Soviet-backed Tudeh army. Frank Frey hints at this being a strong possibility in King's Ransom, and a pretty good game could be done in the spirit of the Sepoy Rebellion, with the Soviets in the position of the British, but with a iffy supply line.

Well, that's as much as I can say for now. Next up will be a review of Last Submarine, which kicks off the second Twilight: 2000 trilogy and takes the game to interesting ports of call..so to speak. So, see you then!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Someone has done a conversion of an M1A2!

That's right, the old Giraffe itself! I am rather shocked how well it came out! Wish I could say I did it, but I didn't. Instead, this enterprising fellow on Lead Adventure Forum known as ultravanillasmurf made a very nice conversion! I am unsure as to what scale it is, however, as a wargaming model, it is pretty darn good.

UPDATE: After an additional readover of the forum post where this originated? It turns out it is 20mm! Yes, this is full of awesome.

Here are some photos!

Photo taken from Lead Adventure Forum, IP is Ultravanillasmurf

Photo taken from Lead Adventure Forum, IP is Ultravanillasmurf

You can read about the entire conversion process here

Module Suitability Review - Urban Guerilla

Image taken from Twilight: 2000 Wiki, IP is GDW/FFE

Urban Guerilla is described as an "adult" adventure where "..the dragon eats the fair maiden and has his way with the knight in shining armor." Victory is described as simply "..striking one more spark of resistance in the teeth of the New American hurricane.."

I must say, it delivers. Urban Guerilla came out when I was in the 7th Grade, and I read this adventure from cover to cover many times. Everybody wore grey hats. The New Americans were engaged in a subtle, nasty piece of genocide against their own population of Seconds and Thirds, and manipulated them through terror and "false-flag" attacks. But, the worst part? The resistance is fragmented, weak, and unable to do more than sting the New Americans here and there. Some of their actions could be seen as little more than terror itself, justifications aside, this adventure has a lot of grey.

And the worst part? New America is being made to work by a woman whose ideological corner cutting is the only thing making this enclave successful. Were New American rule to collapse without a viable alternative ready to move in? Yeah, I think we all know that answer.

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: My comments should in no way be taken as any endorsement of New America, or any real-life organization that shares their goals. Just stating some very unfortunate post-apocalyptic realities, namely that power abhors a vacuum.)

The adventure does a very good job at giving us a look at how New America functions..the bit about the "classification test" was very well done..and a bit creepy. Thomas Mulkey hit this one out of the park, in my opinion.

All of the subplots weave together well, such as the captured documents and the unfortunate courier at the beginning, ,the leader of the enclave..and her teenage daughter, the psychotic head of security, who has sent for an assassin to deal with his apostate boss, and the small matter of a father and daughter who are on opposite sides of the dirty war unfolding in South Florida, and a little boy caught in the middle.  Then there is the casual corruption, and the endless wars of "urban renewal" that lead to the deaths of thousands of ill-equipped Seconds and Thirds..and a potential rebellion in the ranks.

What a tangled web it truly is...but how does it translate well to a miniatures game?

Skirmish Games

To be honest, this is where Urban Guerilla shines, a lot of potential scenarios for rules like Black Ops can be found here, and there is a lot of mission fodder, some ideas include:

  • Smuggling the daughter of the enclave leader, and her boyfriend out and to Milgov where they can be debriefed.
  • Rescuing the son of the leader of the clandestine resistance, and avoiding the New American trap they've set for just such an attempt.
  • Performing a prisoner snatch to grab a New American soldier and getting the results of an interrogation out.
  • Stopping a coup against the current leader of the New American enclave on the principle that the alternative could be far, far worse.

Larger Battles

There isn't a lot here for larger fights, but there are some possibilities, One of the best I can think of gaming out a popular revolt against the New Americans, particularly if it's in the confusion of a coup by the traditionalists who are unhappy with the current leaders "shenanigans". 

This has a lot going for it, and if done right, it could also make a good backdrop for some smaller battles as well. So all in all, there is something here, as there are some large forces arrayed against the New Americans (the Seminoles come to mind), and they just need something to unify them...

Next time, we'll be discussing King's Ransom. I accidentally skipped it as I have been trying to go in order of stock numbers, oh well. I promise I will discuss it and like always, there will be a lot of possibilities there.

So, have fun till then!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Yes..Another of Those Short Posts! Lots of Thank Yous Need to Go Out!

1. First, I want to say thanks again for all those who have supported the blog. With the recent release of the East African Sourcebook, and all the positive buzz here? Twilight: 2000 is back, with a vengeance. And to me? That is a good thing. Spreading the word of 80's post-apocalyptic fun is to me, a labor of joy..and doing it with miniatures? Even more fun. So to all the blog supporters and those spreading the word? Thanks to all of you (especially the members of the Red Storm Rising Wargaming and Twilight: 2000 groups on Facebook, you didn't write me off as some crazy spammer, and look what this thing has become, you guys put me there!) , and thanks to Marc Miller, for all he is doing to keep the game alive.

2. I want to again, give Covert Intervention Games another shout out. They mentioned us! Yep, that's right. "500 Miles.." is becoming a force in the hobby. A small force, to be sure, but it's always nice to be noticed, and I give a lot of credit to you, the reader. Thanks!

3. As you know, I am slowly but surely running out of 1st Ed modules to evaluate from a miniatures standpoint. Not to complain at all, but I intend to write some more about miniatures and modelling soon (I did promise). Specifically, I want to write about technicals and gun trucks and what you can accomplish in modeling them. As my modeling skills are to be fair..moderate at best, if anyone wants to contribute their work to discuss in an article? I'd appreciate it.

4. Please know, as much as I write this blog, and will be contributing the lions share of the work, I am not above, nor would I shrug off guest posts. In fact, I would welcome them. There is a whole big community out there, and I would love to hear from it. What would I be looking for?
  • Modelling articles?
  • Painting tips?
  • Terrain making tips?
  • Reviews of products I haven't mentioned here that might be of use to a tabletop gamer looking to do Twilight: 2000 inspired games?
  • Scenarios and AARs of games you have done that were inspired by the milleu?
I will be doing all these things and more, but I wanted to give you, the reader a chance to contribute as well.

So, if you're interested, fire up the word processor, I would love to see what comes of it. And as always, spread the word. "500 Miles.." is out there, and we'd like to reach all interested corners of the internet!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Module Suitability Review - Gateway to the Spanish Main

Image taken from rpggeek.com, IP is from GDW/FFE

Gateway to the Spanish Main is a very multi-layered adventure, and has a lot of fun moving parts. New American-backed pirates, the granddaughter of the head of Milgov in peril, and the small issue of a few thousand Cubans stuck very far from home, with their commander convinced that the Yanquis are coming in force.

Did we mention the adventure is meant for the heroes to start as escaped POWs? Aboard a movie copy of the USS Constitution? Yeah, this adventure has it all.

Then there are all of the opportunities the heroes of the adventure have to get a boat of their own, or just plain find some access to arms and ammunition...

It's got a lot going for it, and has a lot about Twilight: 2000 at sea. Moreover, it's just plain awesome as a sort of "Errol Flynn meets Mad Max".

But how does this work out for miniatures fodder?

Skirmish Scenarios

There is a lot of skirmish possibilities in this little scenario. And by a lot, I do mean a lot. If you ever wanted to do tall ships meets the post apocalypse, then this is the module for you. Some of the ideas one can play out are?
  • A fight between the Constitution, and a pirate vessel. Keep in mind this might be a more even fight than you might think, and that the crew of Constitution are experienced sailors, to put it mildly. But the pirates are numerous...
  • A raid by the Grenadian Constabulary or the NNP on the Cubans, or their lackeys in their "militia". Neither side is particularly well-equipped, but the Cubans are a bit more experienced than anyone else on the island, though there are some GGR folks who have a lot of experience compared to anyone on the island.
  • A raid by Constituion's marine contingent on one of the smaller pirate garrisons on Carriacou, or a hostage rescue game of some of the shipwrights being held hostage.
  • Gaming out a boarding action between two ships would also be a doable skirmish game, and could be done on a variety of ships. 

Larger Scenarios

The larger scenario possibilities are mostly of the naval variety, but a good game could be had on a raid on one of the ports on Carricou. Now that said, it would do well for a smaller scale (6mm), game. Special rules are going to have to be used reflect modern weapons in what is essentially, an Age of Sail game. In any case, the rules one would have to use would be quite unique.

One also needs to reflect that the pirates only have 106mm training ammunition for the RCLs. The weapons should not be as effective, but the fact is, it would make awesome scratch building opportunities for the ships involved, which rather resembles Pirates of the Vistula, only with tall ships.

Well, that is it for this week, next on the agenda, we'll be discussing Urban Guerrilla, or Twilight: 2000 in South Florida!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Module Suitability Review - Airlords of the Ozarks

Image taken from Twilight 2000 Wiki, IP is GDW/FFE

Airlords of the Ozarks to me, reflected a change in the "bad guys" in Twilight: 2000 from the traditional Soviets to something far more sinister, and familiar, New America. New America is born of the darkest fears about the Neo-Nazi movement from the 1980s. The ideas were borne of the seeming rise of the neo-Nazi movement, as well as the fears real, and imagined of the Christian Right. That said. New America, whatever your views, is to me, presented an "anti-Morrow Project" to pit against your players (and might have been a bit of a parody of said game, but that is my own position).

But on to the adventure. It's got a lot. The "recon" mission has sort of a creeping horror element to it, as you realize the true nature of the "Airlords" and what they have at their disposal (three dirigibles and a mess of ultralights). Air superiority in Twilight: 2000 against unprepared towns in the Ozarks is nothing short of devastating, as our heroes might find out.

The rot of New America goes as far as the state house in Little Rock in a side plot, and the mission to destroy New America's airfleet can resemble Guns of Navarone if done right. And there is the small issue of New America having some crude CALCMs at it's disposal...(Nice job MilGov). Yeah, you gotta destroy those too.

But that said, how does it do for miniatures scenario fodder?

Skirmish Games

For skirmish games Airlords of the Ozarks does very well on a skirmish scenario basis. There is a ton of fodder really, everything from ambushing New American patrols, to scouting out New American-held towns.

Some really neat ideas I have though are:

  • A raid to capture the leadership of the Jonesboro marauder band for interrogation, they would be a font of information on the nature of the "Airlords".
  • Raid on an New American LC (Long Contract) Labor Camp (re: Concentration Camp) to recover valuable prisoners as well as to perhaps rile up the prisoners in a general uprising.
  • A raid to capture a New American prisoner for interrogation.

Larger Scale Games

Airlords is some awesome fodder in my opinion for some larger scale games, especially for the climax of the adventure. Some of the more obvious ideas include:

  • A partisan raid stiffened by some American soldiers returned from Europe on the lair of the dirigibles, it would be especially exciting if there was one loaded with ALCMs ready to launch at MilGov and CivGov HQs. (relax, they aren't nuclear armed, but 1000kgs of HE won't tickle if aimed right). 
  • A fight between a captured dirigible and one held by the New Americans (what rules you would use for this, I have no idea).
  • Milgov sends the 197th Mech Brigade in from Memphis to crush the New American cell in the Ozarks, one town at a time (This would make an interesting micro armor game, and the New Americans, sans airships, aren't going to have a lot of anti-tank weapons to deal with the ironmongery the 197th can bring to bear).
In short, the scenario has a lot to offer, and the figures for New Americans are easy, just take a mix of Americans in uniforms from Vietnam to 90s era (ala my article on the subject)  and paint a blue armband with a white star in the middle. It should be a darker blue than the Somali flag, to be honest, and as for Ozarks terrain, there is some mention of it in my terrain article on what you can do for some ideas there. (You might have to scroll down). Vehicles for the New Americans would be a mix of pickup trucks and "technicals" for the most part.

Well, it's our 30th Post!! Thanks to everyone for their continued support and comments here. Your feedback makes this worthwhile! I apologize for the wait for this article, a cold laid me up for a few days. Our next entry will be Gateway to the Spanish Main, Post-apocalyptic pirates and kidnapped children to rescue, arr!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Module Suitability Review - Allegheny Uprising

Image taken from Twilight:2000 Wiki, IP is GDW/FFE

Allegheny Uprising is and isn't your typical Twilight: 2000 adventure. It is, as usual, a post-apocalyptic road picture, and it has a McGuffin (a lost strategic reserve stockpile), but it also has something you don't often see in a Twilight: 2000 adventure. It has a plot best described as "wheels within wheels."

You have just within the CivGov team alone, an undercover CIA agent, a budding traitor who will sell the party out to set himself up as the new power in Western PA (which considering that the is a former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, says a lot about the state of Maryland in Twilight: 2000), and an incompetent buffoon who thinks he is a military genius. Lots going on there. No wonder Rodger Caldwell (the player's patron with CivGov) hired a MilGov team to take care of this.

Next, you have a marauder chieftain (with the oh-so-friendly moniker of the "White Death") shamelessly using an old, vulnerable member of the House of Representatives for his own ends (namely overruning Eastern Pennsylvania). But what said chieftain doesn't know is that said congressman knows where this little supply stockpile is. Oh yeah, this has the potential to go sideways really fast, no?

Then there is the not so small matter of a war brewing between the militias in the mountains of Eastern PA, and the marauder "armies" (more like armed mobs) formed from desperate refugees that are preparing to go to war over the remaining food in Pennsylvania. Seems the harvest won't feed more than 20% of the total surviving populace this year. Yeah, of such things, bitter wars are made.

Something that an online friend pointed out to me after I wrote this? This has got to be one of the grimmest Twilight: 2000 adventures ever written. The fact is, hunger makes people do very desperate things, among them, contemplate genocide. If the heroes do not play their cards right, this could very well happen between the mountain dwellers and the the marauders. The only question would be, who would be the victims?

But how does this do for miniature wargaming fodder?

Skirmish Scenarios

The potential for skirmish scenarios is replete here. There are simply so many small unit actions going on between the marauders and the militias that their skirmishes alone could fill a scenario book by themselves. The main issue is to make sure the scenarios, as I mentioned in my Armies of the Night review, do not become "same-same".  But there are some interesting ideas nonetheless:
  • A hired team of European veterans, makes a raid on the "abandoned shopping mall" at Monroeville to rescue Congressman Fitzpatrick. Building a shopping mall is daunting, but it would make a great convention game! (and nice small shout out to "Dawn of the Dead"! )
  • Our small band of heroes has to fight off a New American ambush somewhere near the MD line. The trouble is, they can't have anyone taken prisoner, or New America might find out what is going on and send their own expedition.
  • The same hired team of European vets decides to launch an attack on the White Death's personal encampment just as he launches the final assault on the mountains. 

Larger Scale Scenarios

Allegheny Uprising really lends itself very well to larger scale scenarios. The armies the White Death can put together are staggering, but badly equipped and trained (some men in his army have little more than knives, clubs, and crossbows). But they are motivated, motivated by sheer hunger, and hatred of the mountain dwellers, whom they believe have huge stockpiles of food. The truth is, they don't but The White Death has them believing otherwise, your morale rules should reflect that. Some interesting ideas include:

  • The White Death has beaten CivGov to the stockpile, but Civgov isn't about to just let the marauders have it. The 228th has some advantages of firepower and training, but the White Death sure has the numbers.
  • A campaign game of the White Death's attempts to force the mountains and lead his army to the food that doesn't really exist. You might want to have rules for rebellions that will break out in Western Pennsylvania once the White Death is preoccupied with subduing the mountain dwellers.
  • CivGov's cache has become well known to everyone. Mountain militias and marauders alike have all allied to get the stockpile for themselves, trouble is, will they wait till the battle is over to betray their "allies"? And how long can CivGov hold the stockpile? 
That's just a few thoughts I have had with this particular adventure. Some final thoughts are, if you do the larger scale games, numbers on the White Death's "army" aren't there, neither are they really there for the militias, but you can fudge it nicely for purposes of a game.

As for figures, the suggestions I made in my Armies Of The Night Review still hold up, but with a higher concentration of civilian weapons. 

Next up, a review of Airlords of The Ozarks, or neo-nazis with dirigibles, ultralights, and ALCMs. Oh my!  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Module Suitability Review - Armies of the Night

Image is from Twilight: 2000 Wiki, IP is GDW/FFE

Armies of the Night is the first Twilight: 2000 adventure that doesn't move around a whole bunch, but remains pretty much in one place. Post-apocalyptic New York City. As an RPG adventure, it's a bit muddied if you ask me. Most of the goals, such as taking a census, or setting up some permanent MILGOV (US Military Government) presence, or figuring out what the heck happened to the last EIGHT expeditions are just plain impossible.

The gold recovery, on the other hand, is doable. But it's going to take a lot of smarts and firepower, and possibly some alliances with some local groups, and they won't be doing it on the basis of the "full faith and credit of the United States government," Your heroes might have to explain to their superiors why their recovered gold is a few bars light..

The story has elements of Escape from New York and The Warriors, as both films are set in New York, and Escape has a lot of thematic similarities, (something's lost in the city, we need it back, we've sent in other guys, and they failed badly...)

All in all, it's got a lot going for it on the RPG side, but what about the miniatures side?

Skirmish Scenarios

Armies of the Night has a lot of skirmish scenario potential. There are so many small gangs and groups running about NYC preying on other small gangs and groups there really is a firefight a minute in this module. The trick is, designing scenarios that don't all become "same-same".

Some of the more unique ideas include:

  • The Duke of New York's machinations in starting a war between Little Italy and Chinatown, one could make a pretty good three sided game between his "army" pretending to be from Little Italy, Little Italy's own troops, and the forces of Chinatown.
  • A salvage group has come under fire, can they shoot their way out, or are they going down under the guns of some of the urban jackals running about. 
  • The last insane survivor of the gold convoy is holed up on top of the Empire State Building, can a small team sent in by MILGOV overcome exhaustion and a hit squad sent by "Hizzoner the Mayor" to silence said survivor before he gives up where the gold is?
  • A game where the CIVGOV CIA team in town "hires" a bunch of gangers to silence the MILGOV team and make sure they don't find the gold before CIVGOV does.

Larger Battles

It's a little harder to find fodder for larger battles in Armies of the Night, but not impossible. If you look hard, and use some imagination, there are a few ideas, and some of them include:

  • The culminating raid on Central Park to get the gold from it's watery grave. The MILGOV team will need allies for this, and the game's climax should be the arrival of a MILGOV relief force, but then again, will they be able to shoot their way back out when word gets around their trucks are filled with gold?
  • The original gold convoy shooting it's way out would also make an awesome game, consider the convoy commander betrayed his own men for some material goods (he was smart enough not to take a cut of the gold, apparently), so properly done, it can make a nice twist on the usual "convoy ambush game".
  • A campaign idea can be the MILGOV team actually using a co-op trying to survive as a base of operations, you can game out the various battles as the residents and MILGOV team try to hold off the yawning chaos in New York, the video game, The Division can provide a lot of thematic elements and ideas for this sort of campaign (leaving out the part about the Dollar Flu, though).
Some final notes, if you can find them, the old Games Workshop 20mm Dark Future figures would be great to game out stuff for this particular module. Another possibility in 20mm is Stan Johansen Miniature's Road Warrior line, or Rebel Miniatures Gangs, Gunmen, and Hostages for the 15mm enthusiast.

Well, next installment will be Allegheny Uprising, an interesting module, with a lot of potential for our purposes, but we shall talk more about that next time!

And in another small bit of news, we have now crossed 10,000 page views!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Module Suitability Review - RDF Sourcebook

Taken from Twilight: 2000 Wiki, IP is GDW/FFE

Ah, the RDF Sourcebook. To me, this ranks up there with the Black Madonna as one of the better written Twilight: 2000 modules out there. These 48 pages are just crammed with information on how to run a role-playing campaign in war-torn post-Twilight Iran.

And what a campaign it would be, because here, broken backed though it may be? There is still something resembling a war going on. Both sides may be depleted, down to almost nothing like in Europe, but they have something in Iran that they didn't have in Europe. Oil, and the means to refine it. And that alone has kept the war going, air strikes and all.

But how does it rank up as a basis for miniatures games?

Skirmish Games

For skirmish games, there is a lot of fodder, nothing specific, mind you, but there are some really good ideas in here, not to mention the mission generator alone is great for coming up with great ideas for pickup games. Some ideas I came up with just on a quick read through are:

  • The Spetsnaz raids on American airfields in Saudi Arabia during the buildup in 1996.
  • The confused fighting around Bandar-i-Khomeini and Khorrmanshahr in May 1997 between Soviet desantniki (104th Airborne Division) and American paratroopers and Rangers. (Disclaimer: Was actually working on this as a fan project called "Blood Upon the Risers".)
  • The SEAL and Iranian Commando raids on the Soviet 105th Airborne Division in May 1997 around Bushehr and Ganaveh or the raids around Bandar Abbas against the Soviet 103rd Airborne Division.
  • The Soviet Spetsnaz raid against US 3rd Army HQ on July 28th, 1997.
  • The deep-penetration raids and patrols carried out across the Zagros mountains that occur from 1999 on.
  • Anything generated from the mission generator on pages 31-32 is perfect, and with a little bit of thought and research, can be made into a really great skirmish scenario.

Larger Games

The beauty of the chronology in RDF Sourcebook is that is so detailed, it like, Escape From Kalisz, is a veritable gold mine for larger games. There is just so much to choose from, I am not 100% sure I can list it all here, but I am going to try, some of the ones that stand out to me are:

  • The initial fighting between the Iranians and Soviets during the invasion of Iran in 1996, or the Soviet offensive in April, 1997.
  • The American airborne landings at Bandar-i-Khomeini and Khorrmanshahr in May 1997.
  • The American air assault landings by 101st Air Assault at Bushehr and Ganaveh in May 1997.
  • The battle between 1st Brigade, 24th Infantry, and 217th Guards Airborne Regiment, supported by the Tudeh on May 16th, 1997. 
  • The American Marine landing at Bandar Abbas in June 1997.
  • The 1st Marine Division's defense of Yazd in August 1997 (this would make a great campaign).
  • "Operation Pegasus II" in October 1997 (this would also make a great campaign).
All in all, with a little bit of research, RDF Sourcebook is extremely wargameable. It's up there with Escape from Kalisz and Ruins of Warsaw, in my opinion, and it takes very little work to get some great scenarios out of it.

One more little thought, a lot of figures got released to cover the recent unpleasantness, and some of the early war figures (2001-03) can be made to work for this area and period, so long as they don't have MOLLE, MICH helmets, or IBA, etc, but the figures are out there.

Next up, we'll be taking a look at Armies of the Night, or Twilight: 2000 does Manhattan!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Yep, One More Short Post - Lee Hanna, aka Adm. Lee on the Juhlin Forum is on the Dead Game Society Podcast!

Seems Twilight: 2000 is becoming quite the podcast fodder lately! That's right, another Twilight: 2000 themed podcast done by the folks at Dead Games Society ("We Play With Dead Things", I like the slogan!) has been added to their show.

I have not listened yet (am downloading the podcast as we speak and I will listen later), but I wanted to give everyone out there a heads up!

You can get the direct link to the show page here!

Thank you DGS! We appreciate you guys giving the game we love the time it deserves!

Module Suitability Review - Red Star, Lone Star

Taken from Twilight 2000 wiki, IP is GDW/FFE

Welcome back to the United States, and what a mess it is. Texas is supposedly not part of the US anymore, and the Mexicans and Soviets(!) have invaded the state, and pretty much conquered the southwestern third of it, then the Mexican army promptly collapsed under the logistical strain, and a civil war (and probably a few nuclear weapons from the US assisted in the process, but Twilight: 2000 canon never really addressed that). This particular part of canon is a bit controversial and even Frank Frey admitted in a recent podcast that this was done to give some "Red Dawn" flavor to the game.

So, what is Red Star, Lone Star? As a module, it has something of the elements of some Western movies, such as the 1956 John Wayne movie The Searchers. There is a huge, campaign changing McGuffin (an intact oil refinery) and it's up for grabs. And like every Twilight: 2000 module, it's a wonderfully drawn post apocalyptic road picture.

But how does it do for inspiration for miniatures games?

Small Scale Skirmish

There are a ton of small scale skirmish games that can be had in this module. The fact is South Texas is something of a free-fire zone. You have marauders, various factions of the Mexican army, Hispanic-Americans who are less than pleased to see the Mexican army and what it represents, Anglos of all stripes, some who will work with like minded Hispanics, and some who will not. In short, it's a mess. But it does make perfect gaming fodder, some of the better ideas include:

  • Gaming out a guerrilla raid on either the Mexicans, or the Soviet Division Cuba. There are plenty of groups who would do well as the guerrillas, not all of them American, but some are participants in the Mexican Civil War.
  • Gaming out a firefight between marauders and Mexican Federales or Constutionales. There was a lot of that in the module.
  • Gaming out the kidnapping of the Kingsleys, which is the whole point of the module?
  • The coming war between the South Texas Grange and the Texian Legion, the whole thing has the feel of a "post apocalyptic county range war" with automatic weapons, and a good set of western rules would make a fun conversion here.

Larger Battles

There is some really good fodder for some larger fights in this module, quite a few in fact. The culmination of the module, is in fact, fodder for a medium scale game in the vein of say, Rapid Fire, or Battlegroup. Some really good ideas that stick out include:

  • A group of returned American soldiers lead an uprising against the marauder kingdom of Grady LaMarr in the ruins of Corpus Christi. A ruined airbase, with damaged aircraft, and rubble walls would make a striking table.
  • The final assault by the Soviets on Brownsville, (and specifically, the Gulfwind Forty refinery) the forces of the Soviets aren't too large but it would make another really great convention game, the marauder and Mexican forces in Brownsville aren't great, but if stiffened by some Americans there to rescue an oil man's nephew and his wife? It could be a lot of fun, especially if you throw in some American guerrillas? This could turn into a campaign as you can run further games as every faction in the Mexican Civil War tries to capture the refinery for themselves.

In short, this module is a smorgasbord of good ideas for miniature gaming and you could have a lot of fun generating games out of it. One thing, cavalry figures are a must for any gaming based on this module, and both Ehliem and Stan Johansen Miniatures (J2047 and 2048 work really well) have some really good figures for this on the 20mm side, not real sure about 15mm. 

Next up, we'll be reviewing RDF Sourcebook, or Twilight: 2000 in the mountains of Iran! Incidentally, this is my 25th post on the blog! Wow, how time flies!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Yet another short post.

Lots to say, and lots to write, but I will keep this as short as I can, as people I am sure want more module reviews (They have been rather popular, to be honest.)

1. As I wrote on the updated version of my 20mm Review Page, I have had some favorable email conversations with the Managing Partner & Founder of Covert Intervention Games (CIG), Mr J Reid "Streak" Denton, CIG are the new owners of the Force20 line. He set me straight on some things, praised the blog, and generally is a good egg. I won't reveal the entire email, as I consider it privileged communication until told otherwise. But, it's nice to see the blog getting noticed by the industry.

2. Ehliem is having a sale until the 22nd of April, their "Not Going to Salute Sale". If you want to get into Twilight: 2000 on the tabletop in 20mm with some really great figures (including the only place you're going to get American Cav), this would be the time to do it. Not to mention, they turned the Cav "tops" into Modular Miniatures with new "bottoms" (yes, that sounded a mite naughty). This has exciting potential, if you ask me. (UPDATE: THE SALE HAS BEEN EXTENDED UNTIL SATURDAY, THE 22ND OF APRIL)

3. As some of you know, I am a working writer in the industry on a very small scale level. My first effort, Red Star, White Lights, (and also sold here) was moderately successful, and well-reviewed. I am hoping my new effort, covering West Berlin, "Red Star, Burning Streets" is as successful, but we're early in the process of getting the rough draft reviewed and the map sketches completed. As for a release date, at this point, "it's ready when it is ready."

4. I want to plug this blog I found, the Charge Blog. It's "Great Big Modern Wargaming Rules Comparison" is an excellent article and one I highly recommend. Heck, it has rules sets I didn't know were out there.

5. Finally, I want to thank people again for their support of this blog. It's meant a lot to me as I write this thing. It is a quirky concept, to be sure, for a "zombie" game (To me, Twilight: 2000 is a concept that refuses to die, and I like that). I guess what I am hoping is that people spread the word about this little patch of the internet. And if you have useful pictures of Poland, or something to add? Please contact me care of the blog. I would love to hear your input and see if we can't incorporate it into a blog post sometime?

That's all for now, a review of Red Star, Lone Star, is coming soon!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Module Suitability Review - Going Home

Image taken from Amazon.com, IP is FFE/GDW

The module Going Home accomplishes a lot of things in it's 48 pages. First, it ends the players saga in Europe, and like the name says, brings them home to the United States (if they so choose). It sets up Northern Germany, Holland, Belgium, and part of France as well as a place to further adventure, and we get a look at conditions there, and even get a glimpse of the French "Dead Zone". 

We get a post-apocalyptic train ride that in the great tradition of Twilight: 2000 modules, turns things into a bit of a road picture, and unlike previous Twilight: 2000 modules, time is now a factor, as the ships are leaving on November 15th, 2000, and with 43,000 American troops looking for a ride home? "..it could get to be quite the game of musical chairs."

The module also updated the goings on in the larger war, and we got a good look at the breakdown in discipline in military units on both sides. More units are disobeying orders, and either setting themselves up as warlords and staying put, going home without orders, or disintegrating under the strain and becoming marauder bands.

It deservedly won the 1986 HG Wells Award for "Best Roleplaying Adventure". 

But how does one use this as fodder for miniatures games?

Skirmish Games

Going Home is replete with ideas for skirmish games. You name it, there's some motivation for scenarios here, some interesting ideas include:

  • A small American unit is on it's way to Bremerhaven to take part in the evacuation. There are some unfriendly Germans (be they legitimate government representatives, or  marauders is up to you) but they want to relieve the Americans of their vehicles and heavy equipment, needless to say, the Americans aren't too keen on the idea.
  • Another small American unit has run into a band of German civilian militia who take exception to the fact the Americans are "abandoning" their country, after all Germany has suffered. The Americans aren't interested in politics, they just want to go home.
  • A train operated by a mix of American soldiers and Polish civilians is being ambushed by marauders, can the Americans fight their way through?
This doesn't of course, include the usual ideas one finds in the Twilight: 2000 milleu, and one can turn this into a campaign of a small unit travelling by some method to Bremerhaven, where they have to determine their progress, roll encounters which may turn into games, or be beneficial to them somehow, Two really great games to run this sort of thing are Force on Force and No End in Sight. Both have really great campaign systems for this. If you don't have a system, you can also adapt the Too Fat Lardies product, Platoon Forward.

Image taken from Too Fat Lardies Website, IP is Too Fat Lardies

In short, the module is replete with skirmish ideas, and one doesn't have to look too hard to find them.

Larger Battles

There are fewer opportunities for larger battles in this module, as most of the larger military formations are in the process of disintegrating or becoming warlords and statelets. There simply is not an appetite for large-scale warfare anymore. That said, there are a few large scale fights to be found in this module:

One such opportunity is more of a counter-insurgency game, with one player playing the German Armed forces taking responsibility for the Thuringer Wald, and another playing the part of the anti-government Freibroderbund, which has recently looted several American units of some gear (including 5 M60A4 tanks) and now may feel ready to take on government control of the surrounding area.

It would be an interesting contest, as both sides are, for the milleu, reasonably well equipped, it might even make a decent campaign.

That's it for now, next on our list of reviews is Red Star, Lone Star

Monday, April 10, 2017

Module Suitability Review - The Black Madonna

Taken from Quag Keep Blog, IP is GDW/FFE

The Black Madonna is one of my favorite all-time Twilight: 2000 adventures. It has a really neat McGuffin, (the Black Madonna), some well-done horror elements, a bit of a back handed swipe at a dungeon crawl (Yes, Mr. Frey, I loved how all the elements of the dungeon crawl were the oldest, and best monster of all: Man), and some memorable characters to boot (Molly Warren, and the Markgraf of Silesia).

It's got it all, and there is a reason people still talk about this module with a measure of reverence today. Hell, I even ran it with a mashup of GURPS: Alternate Earths (Dimension Hopping Nazis after the Madonna! Something actually worse than SSD-1109!!!)

But how does it stack up in the wargaming part? Surprisingly well!

Skirmish Games

Black Madonna is a well paced and crafted story, it's where I got my earliest writing tips, to be honest, so I have a soft spot for this one. But the skirmish scenario possibilities are endless here.

  • Any number of groups shoot it out for possession of the Madonna. This could even make a larger game, but not overly likely, Czestochowa is a mass of rubble that was bombed, shelled, fought over, then nuked flat. Like my last review, you're going to have to model a lot of rubble, and possibly even a dungeon crawl as you match wits with the Madonna's mad guardian.
  • Raids by groups of fugitive American stragglers on the Soviet 129th MRD, this would be common, as mentioned in the adventure, but the Soviets aren't going to be that motivated, they've all but quit the war.
  • The division commander of the 129th MRD has a couple of problem officers, the division Zampolit (Political Officer) and the commander of the Olesno garrison. Both have the potential to tear the division apart. The division commander isn't above hiring a few American stragglers to eliminate both issues, violently.

Larger Games

There are some larger issues that might or might not be coming to a head in Black Madonna, that have nothing to do with the Madonna. Some of them would make excellent game fodder, and would be a hoot to game out:

  • The Markgraf moves against one of his neighbors, either the Czechs to the South, or the Mercantile League to his East.
  • A coup is brewing in the Soviet 129th MRD. The division Zampolit (Political Officer) has ideas of taking over the division and restoring "proper socialist order" whereas the division commander simply wants to get his men home and back to whatever families they have left.
  • Another idea, this is from John R. Albers on Facebook, is to game out the battle for Czestochowa in 1997. This has a lot of promise as a 1:5 game, but it would be a large one and possibly have the makings of a campaign.
All in all, there are some really interesting possibilities here, and they would all make good miniatures games. Next, we'll be reviewing Going Home.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Module Suitability Review - Ruins of Warsaw

Taken from Twilight: 2000 Wiki, IP is GDW/FFE

My first Twilight: 2000 module, and one I kind of remember fondly. What I really liked about it was that I was a hard-core board wargamer just dipping my toes into this thing called role-playing at the tender age of 11. And here was the perfect way to do it.

A small community of farmers known as Sielce is eaking a paradise out of the nuked ruins of Poland's capital. They are making the ruins grow! And here comes the greedy Baron Czarny and his horde of cutthroats, bandits and assorted scum who want to take it all for themselves. The community is outnumbered, and outgunned, but has nowhere really to run to. Such things that desperate defenses are made of!

And it had detailed orders of battle and information for both sides. In short, it was awesome! I will admit, as I watched the back half of this season's Walking Dead, I was having flashbacks to this module.

But how about it from a miniatures point of view?

Small Scale Skirmish Actions

This book has a lot of fodder for skirmish actions in the rubble of Warsaw. The fact is, any time anybody leaves Sielce on a patrol of the ruins, there is a good chance of a firefight one can game out. Add in the fact both sides are probably running patrols, and you have instant fodder for a skirmish game right there.

Other games are conducting "diplomatic" missions to the other communities and the Soviet 10th Tank Division to enlist them in the fight against the Baron, this can easily be turned into a skirmish campaign, as the small force is probably going to have to fight off multiple patrols of the Baron's forces.

Another slightly larger, but still very much a skirmish game, is one of the core events of the adventure, a game based around ambushing the Baron's purchase of some chemical rounds to support his assault into Sielce. The elements of the convoy are listed in detail, as well as the forces Sielce can spare to ambush them, add in some lost American stragglers to provide "help" and you have the makings of a larger end skirmish game. I've run this, although I added in a Polish/Soviet force, and a force from the marauders Czarny did business with (seems he screwed them over..). The game ended with Baron Czarny's force giving half the shells to the Polish/Soviet force just to buy their escape, as the other sides were happily gunning each other down.

That said, you can run this ambush any way you like.

But this leads us to the main part of our article....

Larger Scale Actions (aka the Assault on Sielce)

As it is, the module is pretty much centered around this, the Baron will eventually give the order to attack Sielce, chemical rounds or not. He has to before winter so he can get the food that Sielce is growing for himself, and his growing army. 

The nice part about this module? Troop strengths and units are meticulously laid out in this module for the "Twilight: 2000 Mass Combat System" which is in this module. There is also a detailed hex map as well. All in all? This battle is very doable with any decent set of 1:5 large scale rules.

Terrain might be an issue as it is a veritable sea of rubble here (Warsaw ate 6 335kt nuclear warheads after enduring a 3 month siege, there isn't much left standing from before), but it's doable if you have the time and patience.

Most of the rules regarding the timing of the assault, as well as the loyalty of the Baron's army can be used straight out of the module, so no need for many special rules here.

I would also state that entire module makes for a great wargaming campaign. Limited resources, terrain needs are focused, as is the real estate. It's a pretty good bet you can generate dozens of campaign games out of this.

In short, this module is probably one of the most wargamable Twilight: 2000 modules out there.

Monday, April 3, 2017

New Stuff for Twilight 2000!

That's right, it's a new AFRICA Sourcebook for v2!

It's called the East Africa/Kenya Sourcebook, and while it is a bit barebones, it's the first Twilight: 2000 release I have seen since Twilight: 2013!

The sourcebook is complete, well edited, and chock full of potential gaming material for a brand new adventuring theater.

Image taken from DriveThruRPG, IP from GDW/FFE 

I have not read through it completely, but it looks good, and for $2.99 at drivethrurpg.com, a solid buy. 

In short, Twilight: 2000 is looking like it might just rise from the ashes again?

And how wonderful this is post #20!

Module Suitability Review - Pirates of the Vistula

Image taken from Wayne's Books, IP is from GDW/FFE
Pirates of the Vistula has the tone of a "road movie" but with a tugboat as the car and the Vistula River as the "road". It has everything, a determined captain heading to an uncertain destination (this to be revealed in Ruins of Warsaw), betrayal by a member of the crew, an epic naval battle (of sorts), and places to see and help/interfere in along the way.

Meanwhile, with winter closing in, and the Vistula having seen better days, it's a race against nature and time to get to Warsaw and help Adam save his family before the river freezes over.

In short, it has a LOT to offer for Twilight: 2000 as an RPG supplement, but as a scenario generator for miniatures games, how does it fare?

Smaller Scenarios

For smaller scenarios, there is quite a bit here, many of the forays as detailed in the module by the muscle Adam hires in Krakow (aka the Player Characters) has a lot of skirmish gaming potential. It is a veritable smorgasbord of ideas, some of the ones that stand out to me are:

  • Liberating the small town of Niepolomice from the small band of Soviet deserters who have taken over the town. This would make an excellent Black Ops game in my opinion.
  • Clearing out the marauder band that has taken over the town of Tamobzreg, this would be more of a Force on Force game here. You could also make this a minor campaign and game out the subsequent attack on Sandomierz, though this might make a small game for a larger scale set of rules.
  • Gaming out the ambush of the Baron's Czarny's men at Gora Kalwaria. This also lends itself well to a Force on Force game.
  • Lots of fodder for boarding actions, either defending against one, or launching one against a pirate vessel? This can really lend itself well to Black Ops.

Larger Scenarios

One of the aforementioned scenarios for this is the Tamobzreg marauders attack on Sandomierz, it's small by the standards of most large scale rules, but it has enough to make a good game of it.

The other is the culmination of the module, the "naval" battle between the Baron's pirate fleet and the the Floating City's fleet led by the Wisla Krowla.

I personally have seen quite a few tugs and other boats in 15mm-ish scale, and with some heavy weapons retrofitted to the boats with some styrene and the like, you can make some real post apocalyptic riverine combatants. The nice part is the module does a very good job of laying out the types, sizes, and armaments of the combatants on both sides. Many of them are quite small, and presumably, could be scratch built. Sadly, I have seen a few WW-II Soviet and German coastal gunboats but nothing that would "fit the bill" for this. I am thinking one is going to have to get creative and find some children's toys?

UPDATE: Pete has advised me of the existence of a tug boat from Frontline Wargaming. I suspect it's not cheap and a very large hunk of resin, but it does exist!

Rules are a bit of a pickle for this, and I am at a bit of a loss as to how one would run this with the rules mentioned before. Perhaps a set of Civil War river monitor rules would work for the culminating fight?

In short, this module has got a lot going for it, and one can make quite a few miniatures scenarios out of this!

Also, consider the Vistula has seen better days, there are going to be a lot of river hazards that are going to figure in any naval game. But it would make for a challenging game!

Next up? Ruins of Warsaw!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Another Short Post

Well, I got a painting session in today..loads of fun. Some British vehicles, seen here, are much closer to being done. 3 Britannia FV 432 and a Matchbox Challenger.

I think I nailed the British 2 color scheme pretty well, no?

I also sprayed and gessoed the following stuff of interest to us Twilight: 2000 lovers.

3 Butlers Models T64s
3 Butlers Models BMP 2s
2 Revell T80s
1 Trumpeter T55
1 Model Collect T72B1
1 S and S ZSU-23-4
2 S Model BMD-2s

All in all, lots more for my Soviets. There was also some WWII stuff, but I will cover that in my sister blog, Festungplatz.

I am fairly happy with progress thus far, but there is lots to do. I also have a bit of a side project percolating in my head. We shall see if that goes anywhere?

More to come, especially that article on Pirates of the Vistula!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Another Module Suitability Review - The Free City of Krakow

Taken from the Twilight: 2000 Wikia Page, Original Cover Painting is IP of GDW/FFE
The Free City of Krakow was the first adventure module published by GDW for Twilight: 2000, and it was an unconventional one. It had a lot going for it. A mcguffin that could change the post-apocalyptic balance of power, a damsel in distress, a helicopter up for grabs, all set in a city barely holding it all together, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding.

The module was, in my opinion, Casablanca meets Mad Max. And it pulled it off well, starting the players off on a classic trilogy of adventures known to Twilight: 2000 players  as "The Vistula Trilogy". 

It even had it's own Cafe Americain, with Adam Rataj stepping in for Rick. As for Victor Lazlo? Methinks that Israeli spy, Tanya, does a very good job there. 

It was post-apocalyptic espionage noir, and it was brilliant.

But from a miniatures standpoint, at first glance, it may not seem to have much to offer?

Um, wrong.

Skirmish Game Possibilities

There are a ton of possibilities to be found here. Some of the ones that immediately come to mind are?

  • Gaming out what happens when the handover of Reset inevitably goes wrong. Too many gunshots and the city ORMO comes down on everyone like a ton of bricks. It would lend itself well to a "cat-and-mouse" sort of game where an M-16 is a heavy weapon!
  • American mercs get hired to rescue  Krutzba's mistress, trouble is..either the KGB has tipped off the ORMO, or they are coming themselves to grab her.
  • The leadership struggle has come to a head, and one of the two titular leaders of Krakow has hired some American mercenaries to kill the other. (This then leads to the larger game idea below).
  • A group of Americans gets it into their heads to steal the city's Mi-17 helicopter.
All of these are good ideas, and are really the tip of the iceberg with this module. There are others mentioned, and a quick look at the module is all you need. Many of these scenarios lend themselves well to the Osprey rules set Black Ops.

Possibilities for a Larger Game

At first blush, Free City of Krakow doesn't lend itself well towards larger battles, but there is one underlying idea that could be developed well.

The core of Krakow's economy is to put it mildly, slave labor known as robotniki, and they are treated poorly. It wouldn't take much for an enterprising marauder band to stir up a city wide uprising. At first glance, this would not seem like much of a game, unarmed slaves against a well-armed city militia, but one thing that can be found somewhat easily in Twilight:2000 is arms. And any smart marauder band contemplating this idea is going to find friends...like the KGB, who would love to bring down the Krakow regime and restore "proper socialist order".

Throw in some American stragglers stuck with the aforementioned mcguffin, and done right, you can have a memorable large game for a party or convention ready to go.

Terrain might be an issue, as seen here:
Taken from RPOL.net, Original IP is from GDW/FFE

Even so, however, just building the old walled city in the center should suffice and it would not be too difficult to pull off in 6mm. 15s and 20s might be a bit more challenging, but not impossible.

What really makes it all doable is the detailed ORBATs laid out in the module. It makes 1:1 games a snap, and conversion to 1:5 rules fairly easy as well. 

In short, this is a pretty good module to use for miniatures game fodder, and it is something that makes one realize just how rich the Twilight: 2000 milleu really is.

Next time, we cover Pirates of the Vistula!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The First Module Suitability Review - Escape from Kalisz

Escape from Kalisz is the introductory adventure for Twilight: 2000. and as such, it is meant as both an origin story, and a world building exercise. From a roleplaying standpoint, it is an excellently done introductory adventure, and it was a shame to be honest, that it was not updated and reprinted in the 2nd Edition.

It's associated handout, Death of a Division really sets the stage well, and both do a fine job of putting any characters in a "YOU ARE THERE" situation.

But what about from a miniatures standpoint? What can we do with this supplement to mine it for miniatures scenarios?

There are a couple of ideas that immediately come to mind.

Larger Scale Scenarios

Death of a Division is a literal gold mine of ideas. And considering none of the forces are at full strength, many of the potential scenarios make for some small, but tight games that can be probably played in an afternoon.

  • 1st and 256th Brigades attack on Lodz on July 14th. This attack has two prongs, and you can do either one, but the attack by 1st Brigade would probably make a larger game.
  • 1st Brigade's defense of the Kalisz - Turek road. The numbers are mentioned in detail on the US side, and one can surmise the Soviet numbers rather easily. 
  • 2nd Brigade's final attack South on the 17th of July, or the defense of Kalisz by 1-40th Armored and 4-12th Cavalry. 
All of these would make some interesting games, and because of their sizes, would make good introductory scenarios to the milleu. 

Smaller Scale Scenarios

There are literally a number of scenarios where skirmish games could be written up in an interesting fashion, as in many towns, the locals are not happy to see the Soviets, and in some cases, have wound up victims to their excesses (Wielun is a good example). 

Any number of raid-type scenarios could be cooked up for any decent rules set and with some suitable post apocalyptic terrain for a village, a good game could be had, 

Other ideas aren't far either as Escape from Kalisz borrows a lot, thematically from any number of German Ruckkampfer experiences of small German units attempting to escape yet another Soviet encirclement late in the war. Find one you like, adapt it for Twilight: 2000, and it will fit well in Kalisz.

Other skirmish ideas include:

  • Urban fighting in Kalisz on the 17th. Small bands of Americans desperately trying to escape town while the Poles and Soviets are rounding up fugitives. Could turn into a very close MOUT game.
  • Small unit of American stragglers ambushes a Polish or Soviet supply convoy for supplies.

In short, the verdict is this scenario pack is a veritable gold mine of miniature gaming ideas. We'll be covering Free City of Krakow next! See you next time!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Short Entry

Hello all from the windy world of Twilight: 2000!

Been giving a lot of thought to many of the things I have said and written about. I intend to get to some more practical modeling articles, as well as some more writeups.

But I wanted input from you the reader!

So here is what I need? In the comments section, please let me know, am I?

a) On the right track?
b) We need more eye candy?
c) Some other ideas?

One of the other ideas I had was doing a module a week review with an eye towards dissecting it for the opportunities for miniatures play. We'd start at Kalisz and work our way forward all the way towards the end of the 1st Ed modules (they did a couple of modules for 2nd Ed, but those in my mind, didn't have a lot of minis opportunities, unless of course, you play Merc: 2000)?

I wanted to get your input because as my nuptials come up and my workload increases during the spring, posting time is going to become a bit limited, and I want to make sure, you the reader is happy with what's going up. I enjoy writing this blog, for sure, but I want my readers to stick around.

So here is your chance to speak your mind on what has come before, and what is to come ahead!

Don't be shy everyone!

BTW, I just noticed, it's our 15th post. Man the milestones just keep coming, don't they?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Back from Cold Wars - Notes for the blog!

Well, another day, another blog entry it seems. I attended Cold Wars 2017 for the day on Saturday, and had a damn good time. Usually, I am resigned to just doing some shopping and chatting, but this weekend seemed blessed.

First, I hit the dealers area and ran into the folks from Covert Intervention Games whom are taking over the Force 20 line, I will be updating this article to reflect this. In the more exciting news, they will also be exclusively manufacturing Ehliem Miniatures entire product line in the US. This is an exciting thing! Matt, as much as I love you, shipping from England can be brutal, even with the lower exchange rate of pound to the dollar. I see this being a very lucrative partnership. I arranged a meeting with the proprietor, J. Reid "Streak" Denton. He is friendly, knowledgeable and local to me (in Woodbridge, as I am in Fairfax), in the future to speak on things T2K and other sundries will be coming in the near future. I even got some sample figures and a bag of colored smoke for signal grenades!

A sadder duty that I performed was to get some face time with Frank Chadwick primarily to offer my condolences concerning Loren Wiseman. Frank was busy running a Desert War Command Decision game next to the game I managed to get into. I waited till he was done, and went over and wished him my deepest condolences for Loren Wiseman. Mr. Chadwick, was, as always, the gracious and humble fellow we know him to be, and after a short 30 second conversation, we parted ways. He described Loren as "a great guy". I didn't have a chance to meet Loren personally, but all accounts agree with that. Again, thank you Mr. Wiseman, we have a really fun game universe to play in, thanks to you.

The convention itself was a bit on the sparse side in terms of attendance I thought. Especially at peak hours. I cannot say why that was, and the flea market didn't have a whole lot that grabbed me, except for some rubbled buildings (including a church, which will look great on any table), and some more trees from a young lady who has a really promising career in terrain building and baking ahead of her (I always buy trees from her). I also picked up in the dealer's area about 30ft of the Hot Wheels Road Tape I have been hearing so much about. It looks great for modern roads, and a little weathering and distressing would go a long way with this stuff, at $8 a roll, it was a bargain. 

Much of the rest of the convention was focused on my WW-II likes, as well as my Full Thrust fleets, so I will discuss, at least the WW-II side on our sister blog, FestungPlatz

I did my share to wear my threatened "Twilight 2000" T-Shirt with the First Edition Cover painting on it, and pimp the blog. That got a lot of attention. Hope to see some folks come looking from Cold Wars. 

In short, a fun time to be had.

More to be said later on FestungPlatz.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Villages, Part 2

I want to thank Phil Hatfield for pointing some things I had neglected when I had written the original article about villages. His points were excellent and as such, inspired this sequel.

A Glimpse of A Town

As stated in my previous article, villages are like road stops on the post apocalyptic road trip that Twilight: 2000 often is. And every village has a certain look, in fact, a village can have many kinds of looks depending on who's running the place, as well as the materials and skill base available, this is especially true when it comes to the defenses of the village, which is the thing that interests most miniature wargamers the most.

As stated in my article on buildings, the look of Twilight: 2000 buildings are a mix of pre-war buildings held together with contemporary materials (and most of them not having been cleaned recently), or post-apocalyptic shanty towns and tent cities to accommodate the hordes of refugees that have shown up to seek any sort of "lifeboat in a storm."

The village defenses will range from amateurish to deadly professional, and will be as much a mix of materials as one can find. Everything from scavenged explosives, punji pits, cheaveu-de-frix, abatis, to simple walls made up of earth, rubble or both can and will be seen as part of a village's defenses. Entering a town is an experience in Twilight: 2000, as many towns have become wary of well armed strangers, most of the time, any strangers will be asked to disarm before they are allowed entry and the doors into a village wall are usually some of the best guarded and fortified in town.

All roads into town will be blocked by whatever is handy, from 18 wheelers, to (if you want to borrow a neat idea from the movie Stake Land), functioning railroad locomotives. The interior of town will be shabby and crowded, with trash pickup a memory, though how shabby will depend on how serious the town is to avoid disease and vermin infestation.

Any and all gas stations or store that sold propane is long since empty, probably with boarded up windows, their snack bars long since looted. The town might be using the place for the municipal still(s) now, but there are other places they might be using as well.

Other than the outer walls, the town hall and the police stations are both heavily guarded, if your nation had permissive gun laws before the war, the sporting goods and gun stores have either been likewise looted, or the guns and ammunition seized to help form the local militia.

Any grocery stores likewise either stand empty, or are now the town municipal larder, and are as well guarded as the town hall or the police station, though this will depend upon the construction of the store in question.

Most villages in Twilight : 2000 do not have any sort of real electrical power. The ones that do often generate either by water, wind, or a surviving nuclear power plant. In any of these cases, the village will take great pains to disguise the fact that it does, in fact, have electricity. Nothing will attract marauders to a town like unshielded light in the distance.

Every square inch of land, including former parks, play fields, and playgrounds will be cultivated to grow food, and most farm animals will be breeding stock. Meat will be somewhat rare in the average villager's diet, unless they go hunt for it.

Any roads in town will be in poor repair, and nobody should be using any road bonuses on a table.

Scenario Ideas

  • A typical Marauder attack on a fortified town, numbers and defenses should be carefully balanced to make for a challenging game, but keep in mind, both sides are fighting for their lives. The villagers cannot afford to give up the amount of food the marauders want, and the marauders need the village's larder to get through the winter to come. A neat twist is to have a small band of infiltrators loyal to the marauders available to sabotage the town's defenses.

  • A riot breaks out in a town occupied by government forces when the government brings in refugees and forcibly resettles them in the confines of the town. The militia of course, sides with the village. The refugees should be a large number, but unarmed for the most part, while there should only be a small, but well armed force of government troops.

  • A small force of villagers have hired some American mercenaries to help them retake their town (or what's left of it) from a band of marauders. The marauders have left little standing and few survivors, but the villagers won't know that till they get into town. After that, they might not bother with a thing called prisoners...

Monday, March 13, 2017

Blog News...and a bit about villages...

Ok, first, the blog/personal news. Even with the weather, the convention season marches on. And so do I. I have managed to finagle a day trip on Saturday to Cold Wars. I try to make the various HMGS cons as often as I can (have a long, and happy history with them), but yeah, with the upcoming nuptials? That probably will be my only con this year, though who knows?

But I am excited to potentially see fans and other curious readers (I suspect the latter outnumbers the former), I'll be the fella in the black shirt with the first ed Twilight: 2000 cover on the front!

Yeah, I will stand out..but that's the point, no?

Anyhow, enough about me and my travels!

A Few Notes About Villages

Villages are the usual touchstones of every Twilight: 2000 adventure. They're the road stops on the post-apocalyptic road picture Twilight:2000 can become. And the problems are many, some of the more memorable include the little village of Ostrow, who was occupied (very) unwillingly by the Soviets in Escape from Kalisz, to Dobrizieden, who had an American unit in residence (with a somewhat unstable and certainly haunted commander), in Black Madonna.

Not all problems are gameable on the tabletop, but many can be, given an imaginative and resourceful referee.

Take Dobriziden. At first glance, this would seem like a hard thing to base a miniatures game around, right? Wrong. Dobriziden has some fairly interesting neighbors. To the north, there is the remains of the 129th Motor Rifle Division, which according to Black Madonna, is holding together under Colonel Kasnov's middle of the road leadership till he can march the division home in the spring (the adventure taking place in the Fall of 2000). The division is teetering on the edge of joining the 9th and 38th Tank Divisions in flying apart and becoming bandits scattered all across Eastern Poland.

To the south? There is the Markgraf of Silesia. The Markgraf is by no means your stereotypical fascist maniac, but he is someone who can at best, be charitably described as a warlord. Now, that said, like many of the more "benevolent" war lords to be found in the world of Twilight: 2000, he usually asks "please" before he annexes you, and would rather you join willingly, pay his taxes and in return, he brings law, order, and peace. He is also very involved in the running of his kingdom, and is not above replacing a bad subordinate or two, probably violently. In short, he is about as good as you can expect under the circumstances.

This does put Dobriziden in a bit of a fix. The people are very attached to B Troop for the things they have done to protect the town. In the adventure White Eagle, we have a throw away bit where Dobriziden joins the Margraveate, and Molly's position as mayor is pretty much confirmed, but I never thought much of that resolution.

A better resolution? Or perhaps a more challenging one? Captain Warren gets word that Operation Omega is happening and the USAEUR is going home. She cannot in good conscience leave the town of Dobriziden undefended, and yet, she knows some of her troopers are going to want to go home, probably enough of them to matter. As much as Dobriziden has become a second home, it's not Idaho, where most of the 116th ACR hails from, so, Warren hatches an almost insane plan. She decides to try and march the people of Dobriziden to the Warta, where an enterprising tugboat captain has promised to sail the lot of them to Bremerhaven, and home.

The tabletop opportunities there are rife, think Battlestar Galactica, minus the space elements, instead of a "rag-tag fleet searching for Earth", it's a "rag-tag column headed for the Warta." Marauder ambushes, set piece raids on Soviet positions, or perhaps a Margavate roadblock trying to convince the column to turn around and go home, there's plenty of possibilities. 

And that's just one village folks...and there's a lot of villages in Twilight: 2000.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Marauders - Vultures of Twilight: 2000

Marauders - An Introduction

Marauders are one of the most prolific problems for Player Characters in the Twilight: 2000 RPG. Name an adventure from the game that didn't deal with them, even as a minor nuisance. Often, they were a major problem, being the focus of a major part (or the entire) adventure.

Marauders are in many ways, a problem that is a result of the collapse of civilization, rather than something that caused it. As one captured marauder said in Red Star, Lone Star. "A guy has to eat." And this is the driving force behind a lot of marauder bands: They gotta eat.

Many of these bands have little to no skills other than to kill people and break things, and many of them are, either because of the war, or pre-war experiences and predilections, too anti-social to be willing to hire themselves out as mercenaries to anybody. It's easier to rob the merchants and peasants..and that's if said merchants and peasants are lucky (I won't go into potential details, it's not germane, and I am not a lurid fellow for the sake of being lurid).

What does matter is how to reflect these marauder bands on the table top. I am going to use the TV show, The Walking Dead to illustrate further the loose "taxonomy" one can find with marauder bands in Twilight:2000, but by no means, is this taxonomy perfect at all.

We will also discuss how this works on a miniatures table.

Marauders - A Taxonomy

Marauders can be divided up into three rough groups, the first is what I call Brigands. These are your typical marauders, they're not nice folks, but they are clearly in it for what they can get. They're cowards at heart, because they aren't going to hit anyone they can't clearly handle, and will flee if they hit any sort of real resistance. Their roots are a mix of escaped prisoners (except clearly the most sociopathic, as they are "bad for business"), deserters, and embittered refugees and villagers forced into this life because they have nothing else and their pre-war world has been turned upside down (a large portion of former urbanites should fall into this category, see the adventure Allegheny Uprising for an excellent example of this).

Examples of this are most marauder groups found in the game's encounter table. They are usually small groups, though they can be larger (Baron Czarny's "army" from Ruins of Warsaw) and even grow into "kingdoms" (the Megapunks in Boston in Last Submarine come to mind), but are usually riven with infighting (enlightened self interest is not a feature of these bands). Another good example are pre-war biker gangs. All of these bands have one thing in common, they are callous and cruel to be sure, but not because they can be, but when it suits their "business model". 

A good example in the Walking Dead is the Claimers. Joe is a cruel, hard, and merciless man with a twisted code of honor. But he is not above acts of shocking violence to get what he wants, or to exact what he considers "justice".  Joe in Twilight: 2000 would be a very common marauder leader, and thus would be a very dangerous fellow to deal with.

The next type is the Viking model. These guys are the closest thing to "Robin Hood" you are going to find in Twilight: 2000, but they hardly limit their theft to the rich. Everybody pays tribute. If you don't, you get raided. They are in many ways, entrepreneurs in the new "scavenger and barter" economy. They are capable of relations with unincorporated communities, but those communities are often stronger then they are. They are shrewd statesmen, and aren't stupid at all. Often, these bands become full-fledged warlord kingdoms, there are laws, and everyone is expected to live by them..or else. Justice is often swift, and violent, but it is a form of law and order. The makeup of these bands are similar to brigands, but with less sociopaths, and more specialists and civilians (these Vikings often attract followers, as they tend to be a more acceptable lot to fall in with).

Examples of this are large (The "Duke" of New York from Armies of the Night) and small. But they have one thing in common, a charismatic leader who has a Machiavellian gift for governing.

A good example from The Walking Dead is Negan. He is Machiavellian, but unpredictably brutal. His society has rules, though they are enforced capriciously, and often without regard for anyone on the wrong end of them. He does see value in people as assets and often spares their lives, and his prohibition against rape is something of an interesting twist for such a character. But the unpredictable level of violence is something that will eventually inspire a coup or a revolt. His tribute system, does however, keep the level of violence at a simmer, but the capricious nature of Negan would make this an unstable arrangement.

A third type is what I call the Reaver type. These are folks who basically have decided to throw their hand against all other men. Either they murder everyone in the aftermath of a raid, or they practice cannibalism, they are often a dangerous threat to all concerned. The makeup of these bands is rarely stable, and once the leader dies, the band often falls to infighting.

Makeup of these bands are to be honest, the worst of the worst, escaped pre-war prison and mental ward sociopaths, or those triggered by 18 months of war culminating in a limited nuclear exchange. These folks can and do justify any manner of behavior, and are some of the most dangerous folks to run into in Twilight :2000. They are often fanatics, and will stop at nothing for their next meal or toy for their creative tortures. A well-written example of these types is the band described from the Challenge magazine adventure Rifle River.

A good example from The Walking Dead is the community of Terminus. Their justification of becoming "hunters" and using guile and deceit to lure new victims into their community to be eaten is a very good example of what a Reaver band run amok can accomplish. They are large by Reaver standards, as most Reaver bands, due to their nature tend to reach a "critical mass".

A fourth and final example is just as deadly as the Reavers, and that is the Cultists. Cultists are formed around a religious or spiritual belief that has been corrupted beyond all recognition by the stresses of the apocalypse. They are often led by someone who has both a force of charisma, and an amoral sense of self. Their societies are formed from the weak, the desperate, and the lost, and every single one of those in the society are willing to kill and to die for them, fearing that the dangerous "outside" will one day come in.

Victims of these bands will often be given a choice, join or die. The choice, as it turns out, isn't much of one, as those on the bottom of the social structure live in slavery, and are not trusted with even their own lives. Families are broken up, and the entire society is set against each other to forestall a coup.

The real trouble begins when the leader invariably dies and either the entire society suicides, or the society breaks up into a religious war between various factions of the cult. (Satellite Down is an excellent example of a cult, and the trouble brewing).

In The Walking Dead, The Governor has something of a cult of personality going, he is amoral, and possibly quite insane and uses the "outside" as a moral cudgel against his own community. He stresses that his rule is as good as it gets. But when things turn bad for him in his war against Rick Grimes and his allies, he thinks nothing of shooting his own in the back. He lies, cheats, and, steals to get what he wants, and callously weaponized the undead, regardless of the risks.

So, What Does All This Mean on the Tabletop?

On the tabletop, a lot of the nuance can be reflected in the morale rules you use for a given scenario when using marauders. Reavers and Cultists will tend towards the more fanatical bent, but on the other hand, the given targets of their attentions will not be inclined to surrender, knowing their fate is worse than death, Brigands and Vikings are more likely to see a surrender, but their terms had best be generous, lest the defenders become ones that would do the ghosts of Stalingrad proud.

Another idea can be in the victory conditions. Reavers and Cultists want prisoners, but the Reavers should also get points for wanton destruction. Brigands are more classic raiders, and will most likely want anything that isn't nailed down, whereas Vikings will want as much intact as they can manage.

Some scenario ideas include:

  • A Reaver band is about to overrun a lightly defended town, and the men have decided to stay behind and buy time for their women and children to flee to a neighboring town, can they, and a small band of American soldiers make a difference?

  • A Viking band is facing an uprising, but what they don't know is a neighboring community fed up with said band's raids is backing the village that is in revolt.

  • A coalition of communities is truly fed up with the antics of a bunch of Brigands, and catches them in camp. The brigands get points for each figure that escapes, and the coalition isn't in a prisoner taking mood.

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