Friday, August 25, 2017

Module Suitability Review - Satellite Down

Image taken from, IP is GDW/FFE

Satellite Down is billed as a "thinking man's adventure" for Twilight: 2000. I was, at first, a little hard pressed to figure out how. But a little thought led to some good points. (I really would love to hear from Blane Pardoe on this). Yes, the cult (based around the survivng crew of the USS Virginia, a CGN that got into a nasty but unlikely naval battle with several Soviet destroyers, but was badly damaged itself) that holds the McGuffin in this adventure (a downed Soviet weather satellite with 4 years of weather data, useful if you're looking down the barrel of a nuclear war induced drought) is somewhat numerous, but there are fault lines in this little slice of Jim Jones that are going to fall apart under the strain of being hit hard enough by a raid to recover the satellite. The main issue would be, figuring out where the cult, and their insane leader (who apparently is drugged out of his mind most of the time) has the satellite stashed.

The DIA contact is good, as well as the rebellious sailors who have had enough of this little slice of "Haven", as it gives the players some nice contacts on the inside. The main issue? Once the players get the data, it's getting out that might present the most trouble. Baja California is a long way from home, in the midst of a civil war.

Oh, and there is the small matter of the Soviets wanting the data for themselves. (I would treat them as KGB Oznaz, real ruthless killer types). They might launch their own raid on the fly if they see the characters making a grab for the satellite. But, honestly, none of these are insurmountable issues, just tricky ones.

But how does this do as miniature wargame fodder?

Skirmish Gaming

For skirmish gaming, there are a few ideas, other than gaming out some of the usual encounters, some of the ones that come to mind are interesting ones:

  • A covert reconnaissance of Haven, perhaps grab a prisoner? Perhaps extract the DIA contact? This would make excellent Black Ops fodder and could make a good two scenario campaign where the second game would be the raid on the satellite.
  • A raid to kidnap the titular head of the community and interrogate him for the location of the satellite, as well as gain his (presumably unwilling) cooperation in the recovery of the satellite. Keep in mind, his self-proclaimed #2 is waiting in the wings for an opportunity like this...and the Soviets might take advantage of the confusion. This scenario also works well for Black Ops.
  • A variant of the above idea? Kill Brupp and let things fall apart, then grab the satellite in the confusion. Riskier, but a doable game if a small, well motivated raiding force gets in and gets out quick. A very good scenario for Black Ops as well, the down side? Both the grab for the satellite and the hit on Brupp are going to have to happen simultaneously, For a small raiding team, this is going to be a rough scenario.

Larger Scenarios

Larger scenarios are tougher to game out in the backdrop of this adventure, but it can be done. My best bet would be to game out the mini-civil war that is sure to break out when Brupp dies (and considering his level of drug use, as intimated by the adventure, that's going to be pretty soon). You can bring in all the factions, give them various objectives (Grab the remains of the Virginia, kill X# of the enemy, grab the satellite, etc.) and then let them have at it. This still isn't going to be a huge game by anyone's standards, but it would make a good game for Force On Force, if done right.

Well, that's it for Satellite Down, Next up is White Eagle, then I plan on finishing up the remaining V1 adventures, then I will review the products we have seen released recently. I am excited about this as I am darn happy you all have been hanging in there. We'll be doing more miniature-related posts as well, though the workbench article from yesterday isn't getting the response I thought it would get....

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Photos from the Workbench

Yes, it was for a World War II game, but a lot of this stuff is useful for any genre, and as urban table scatter? It's just how useful and resourceful you can be with a little bit of effort.

During the leadup to the game, I managed to flock a ton of trees, paint up some figures for my German Volkssturm (some LMGs they needed), and a 5cm gun (it turns out I do not in fact, have a Pak 97/38, lucky me I have the means to make some)! I also made a clock suitable for a park anywhere in the world, and a ton, and I mean a ton of barbed wire.

So, first, let's see my other efforts first?

Here is some of the flocked trees and the clock tower, it's mounted on a bit of precut balsa found in a variety pack at Michaels, and flocked with a mixed flock that makes the grass look a little like it's gone to seed. All in all, not too bad.

This time, I did the barbed wire differently than I usually do it. I used some posts this time...and honestly, it came out a lot better. Here is a list of materials:
  • A supply of 1" x 1.5" bases or other cut materials (the size doesn't matter as much, but keep it consistent).
  • A supply of dowels (purchased at Michaels, I meant to use them for spent shells for AT gun bases, but they worked really well for this)
  • Barbed Wire (whatever you use for it, I use GF9's brand, but you can use whatever strikes your fancy).
  • Brown paint (red-brown works best)
The process is quite simple. First, take the base, then using super glue, cut the dowels in half, or about the size of 2/3rds of a 20mm figure (or 2/3rds of whatever scale you wish to use). Then glue said dowels to the base on the flush (not the cut ends, you use those for the ends facing up). Let this dry overnight.

Next, paint the entire thing brown, mix, slather it on a bit, as you're going to need it.

The bases before flocking and application of the wire

Next, slather on some white glue, cut with a bit of water (50/50 mix I'd say) and carefully brush on, then flock the bases with whatever flock you like. I used the same mix of flock I used on the clock tower, but whatever works for you. 

After that, cut a length of barbed wire, and wrap it around a pen or sharpie (something medium sized), and then carefully wrap the protruding ends on both sides around the posts. You can glue the wire to the posts with super glue, but if you get a tight fit, it's not really required. 

I think I spent about 2 hours of total work to churn out about 30+" of barbed wire for very little effort or cost. And the results?

Look either to the left or the right in the photo, I think you will agree, pretty darn good, no?

Not bad for a few hours work, eh? By the way? It's Post # 50! Wowsers! 50 posts of this stuff, and you still want more!

Also, something else just crossed my desk. It seems that the 20mm T-55s being crowdfunded by Plastic Soldier Company are very, very close to fruition. They need a few more orders to put them over the top, they say, so, if you need T-55s in 20mm, these are a very good buy! Run, do not walk to get your box, or two!

<Waves hand in Jedi-like motion> "These are the T-55s you are looking for, consider no other!"

Monday, August 14, 2017

Another new module for Twilight: 2000!

Image taken from DriveThru RPG, IP is FFE
It has been a red letter year for Twilight: 2000 fans. First, there was the release of the East African Sourcebook, which caused quite the buzz, and yes, fans, I will review it as soon as I can (got that wedding coming up), and now? Now we have a new adventure, Rook's Gambit, by A.R. Bergesen (known to many Twilight: 2000 forum goers as Raelleus!) . Like the previous work from FFE, this is another PDF only project for $2.99 and all I can say is, this nostalgia ridden Twilight: 2000 fanatic is overcome with joy.

I suspect there are other projects in progress (and some of them, I have personal knowledge about, some, I just suspect, but I will say no more than that). I applaud Marc Miller for going this route, there's a lot of stories to be told by the fans, and yes, PDF publishing allows them to be told. I do promise I will review the module from a miniaturist standpoint soon, but I wanted to take the opportunity to congratulate Raelleus on this blog, and let him know, there is not only a fan base, but one that will go out and buy this thing like hotcakes.

So, run, do not walk to get this thing. Rest assured, I will read it and review it soon!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Signal from Podcast at Ground Zero and musings about Podcasts.

It was good to hear this morning from Podcast at Ground Zero! We were worried that like Red Diamond Six Actual, there were Soviets in the wire. Good to hear this is not actually true and their podcast will continue.

I personally found their broadcasts fun, and informative, and like another couple faves of mine, Meeples and Miniatures and The Brit, the Yank, and the Hobby, they are some of the gold standard on the way genre (be it gaming or PA in general) podcasts SHOULD be done. They are well done, the hosts have done their homework before hand, and they stay on topic.

Too many podcasts are well, long rambling messes where by the end you're saying, "that is 45 minutes of my life I will not get back." The editing is also very well done, and they have engaging guests talking about things we, the listeners want. (this is especially true for Podcast at Ground Zero).

Might I take "500 Miles..." into podcast? Probably not. If anyone judges by my efforts on FB Live, I make a rather big hash of it, too many "ums" and "ahs" while I am trying to collect my thoughts before I speak. I mean it would be fun to have a Twilight: 2000 oriented podcast, but I am not the guy to do it, I will stick to writing, it's what I am good at (if I can be arrogant enough to say that).

That said, I highly recommend Podcast at Ground Zero for many of the topics I have mentioned here, while those topics aren't shall we say, illustrated on the Podcast (though they are sometimes on the video podcast), the food for thought they can provide for games and campaigns are well worth the listen, and they have a deep library you can listen to while you wait for the duo to come back and record new episodes.

So, gather round, turn on the battered old radio, and listen to a weak signal coming somewhere from the Post-Apocalyptic wilds, I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Module Suitability Review - Bear's Den

Image taken from, IP is GDW/FFE

Well, it's the long promised review of Bear's Den. It's the only adventure that takes place in the Soviet Union (why in the world the PCs would ever go in that direction is beyond me, unless you really want to take the long way home through Siberia to Alaska, which if Deadliest Catch has taught us anything, it's no, don't go that way!)

  The adventure has a lot of potential, it centers around the Ukrainian city of Lvov, a Soviet general with dreams of empire..and the military skill that's already made him a legend...and the small matter of him potentially having a SCUD with a nuke? Not to mention, it's left open ended for the players to join him or not..decisions..decisions? Did I also mention the CIA-backed partisans and that Soviet Tank Division (also controlled by the CIA) that's marching on the city?

Yeah, it's a big battle the likes of which we don't often see in a Twilight: 2000 adventure. And what a battle it could be.

And the PCs could be right in the middle of it all....

But how does it do as miniatures fodder?

Skirmish Games

For skirmish games, this scenario pack has a lot going for it. There are skirmishes between the forces of the "Red Bear" and the partisans, or the 27th Tank Division (pro-NATO) and the forces of the Red Bear...but some other ideas lend themselves well below:

  • A raid to seize Olesko Castle ahead of the 27th. The place is heavily guarded and would be quite the challenging Black Ops game.
  • A raid to liberate NATO POWs from the camp outside town. Little is written about the place in the adventure, but a decent and smart referee can come up with something. This would make an excellent Force on Force or No End In Sight game.
  • Another idea is to assassinate the "Red Bear" himself. This would make another great Black Ops game, and the referee has his pick of places to choose from in Lvov to have the action take place.
  • Lead an expedition of a small unit to get the 27th's recon unit out of the siege it has found itself in a small mountain pass, this would make a decent campaign for Force on Force or No End in Sight. Oh, and the opposition? It's a Soviet ski unit! How Cold War cliché is that?
  • A raid to destroy the SCUD before it launches on the town of Drogobych. This would make an interesting game for either Black Ops, Force on Force, or No End in Sight.

Larger Games

The scenario pack has everything you need to run the final fight for Lvov. Everything is broken down in deep detail in the last part of the book, and lends itself well to a set of large battle rules like Fistful of Tows, or Spearhead. Keep in mind there are some fuel issues for some of the Red Bear's forces and that Drogobych is important because of it's fuel supplies to both sides.

Other factors? It's a Ukrainian winter, probably one of the coldest in memory, and both sides are not going to have an abundance of IR or Image Intensifying gear to go around.

The size of the game will probably make this a campaign game, or even an all day convention game, and the better news? It's on the Ukrainian steppe, so think lots and lots of flatlands.

Well, that's it for Bear's Den, I will be reviewing Satellite Down next, as I accidentally skipped it somewhere. US Navy sailors forming a fanatical cult, a downed Soviet weather satellite, all in the midst of the 2nd Mexican Civil War? Oh my. Also, I am tying the knot soon (October 21), so updates are definitely going to be on a "As I can" basis until the day happens.

Oh, I almost forgot! We crossed the threshold of 20,000 pageviews! So to quote Sally Fields: "You like me, You really, really like me!"

See you next time!

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