I've been tinkering with miniatures and wotnot through 2018 but I haven’t had time to blog about it, so here is the first of a few updates.
The Joy of Six is now a regular fixture in our calendar. This time around, I happened upon copies of Battletech and Citytech on the second-hand stalls. I always liked the idea of Battletech but information about it was hard to come by in the UK during the eighties. On top of that I was unimpressed by the miniatures or the hex map playing area, so I ended up going down the Games Workshop route instead. I suspected the rules would be terribly clunky by 2018 standards but, after some coaxing from El Deano, I bought them anyway.
Battletech has a reputation for being complicated but, at first glance, the core rules don't look that bad. A squillion supplements were released for it back in the day so I suppose the game probably drowned under ‘too much special sauce’. I decided to give it a whirl so I’m looking into ways of speeding up the flow of the game with some modern tech, using laminated profile sheets and dry-wipe markers and replacing the ridiculous number of tables with a card-drawing system.
The first thing I decided on was no hex grids. My miscellaneous mechs are on 40mm round bases because that’s how I like ’em, and I put a hexagon on top of each base so I didn’t have to reinvent the rules for movement and fire arcs. For my first attempt, I used a pencil and compass:
I wasn’t accurate enough though so I gave up and did it the unsophisicated way. I drew a hexagon in some drawing software, printed it, cut it to size and used it to trace the outline onto some plasticard.
The second thing I decided on was a modular ‘ruined city’ board, thinking that some kind of flattened urban landscape like Stalingrad would be quick to build and fairly practical for moving miniatures around on. I first sealed the MDF with the assistance of one of the rat bastards:
Then I chopped it up into 15cm squares:
I searched online for 6mm buildings but I wasn’t very happy with the options available. I found a lot of them to be either too old or ‘sci fi’. I bought a set of 3D printed buildings from eBay to get myself started:
As you can see above, they are nicely done but they have too many gothic windows and are just too ‘40k’ for me. On top of that, I couldn’t seem to arrange the buildings on the tiles in a way that seemed to work.
Fed up with the project, I shelved it over summer. My interest was revived in October when I saw all the lovely buildings on the Iliada Game Studio Facebook page. After a couple of weeks dithering over what to buy, I was lucky enough to snag a big box of ‘slight seconds’. I have no idea why Ali considered them to be seconds but I’m not complaining!
They have exactly the postmodern, Brutalist look that I had in my mind’s eye. My only niggle is that the left and right tabs don’t alternate so you can’t put pieces together to make longer structures without cutting them off and reducing the strength of the construction.
Still, it’s a minor issue and overall I’m really happy with them. I haven’t even bothered to paint them, except for covering up the scorch marks on the edges of each section. Because they are card stock, it was easy to experiment with making ruins and new building shapes:
The next problem was the terrain tiles. I solved this by upping the size from 15cm to 20cm. I wasn’t happy with my cutting so, this time, I bought pre-cut, 12mm thick, 20cm MDF squares from eBay:
The larger size gives me more room to create more realistic street layouts. The buildings below are laid out as Khrushchev blocks:
I have a lot of small offcuts of mounting board so I am using them to make pavements:
I bought nine tiles, giving me a 60 x 60cm game board (that’s two feet square to those of you still living in 1964). So far, I have five tiles ready to paint and four more in progress. Perhaps rather optimistically, I’m hoping to have them ready by Christmas…