Archive for ‘Firestorm Armada’

July 5, 2010

Terrans vs. Dindrenzi

by Nate Birkholz

Yesterday, a coworker and I got in what was supposed to be a quick game of Firestorm Armada, but since it was only our second game, we had no idea what we were doing, and the game took hours.

I played my Terran fleet, “Task Force Mars,” and Matt played his Dindrenzi. We had one planet that I had painted up, and another coworker cut some nebulae out of white paper: we decided the nebulae blocked LOS (halving Attack Dice), but had no effect on movement. I fared rather poorly, losing a lot of my ships early on, though I did manage to board and capture one Dindrenzi frigate using my Cruisers.

In brief, I came out of the deployment zone and tried to move around one flank, using the planet and a nebula for cover, but we got hung up on one another near the planet, and traded a lot of volleys that left me without most of my ships. My Battleship then played cat and mouse with his remaining forces, and was actually slowly winning the battle of attrition with his battleship because my shields were working rather well–I had doubted the effectiveness of shields from reading the rules, but in practice they really made a difference, preventing several critical hits and even reducing all damage a couple times. Still, in the end, Matt had three Frigates (in two squadrons), two Cruisers, and a mostly-functional Battleship and was well-positioned to take me out next turn if we hadn’t run out of time after three or so hours of looking up rules (photo is from right before he dusted my last Frigates and the final Cruiser)!

Amid the nebulae

We hadn’t previously used the boarding rules, hadn’t used the Cut Engines maneuver, hadn’t used any sort of terrain, and hadn’t used a lot of torpedoes previously. Now we are little more familiar with those rules, though I feel like we didn’t really do the boarding properly: I should got to the Firestorm Armada forums and ask some followup questions. Next time we will use the fighter wings, and there will be much confusion.

June 29, 2010

Bona Fides

by Nate Birkholz

So let me establish who I am.

I have been gaming since 1970-something when my Father brought home a blue box Dungeons and Dragons basic set. I was instantly and irrevocably hooked. I got a yellow box of Grenadier Halfling miniatures for Christmas but never painted them since my gaming group didn’t really ever do miniatures — we decided our imaginations were good enough, and our allowances were insufficient to really buy a lot of miniatures anyhow. I wish I still had those models, they disappeared in a move at some point.

From then on I was an avid gamer, right through adolescence. After many years of playing roleplaying games, I started my first miniatures game, Battletech. Battletech consumed most of my weekends for years as a teenager, though we didn’t have many of the miniatures, using the cardboard proxies instead. Still, an old Ral Partha Archer miniature is my first painted figure.

In college, I worked at a couple of now-defunct game and comic stores, especially the original incarnation of The Source in Minneapolis and St. Paul. I played a lot of board- and wargames with people from the store and with my roommates, especially Avalon Hill games (even Advanced Squad Leader, which the store manager called “Advanced Squad Money”). I also got into painting miniatures for roleplaying games and played some Napoleonic sailing miniatures games using the Heart of Oak rules. The store didn’t heavily cater to miniatures wargamers, more the cardboard chit crowd, so we never had early days Warhammer/40k going on, though I did buy an early box of plastic Space Marines to convert into an idea I had for a sci-fi sports boardgame…which never came to fruition.

Then I finished college with a degree in Archaeology and moved on to looking for a job. Long story short (too late), I ended up getting a job in the video game industry. Since that time I have designed games, been a texture artist (not through any real artistic talent), and been, for  most of my career, a Producer, both in Publishing and in Development. Along the way I played a lot of games, especially boardgames, but also Mechwarrior: Dark Age, which is at least marginally related to skirmish miniatures wargames.

Upon arrival at my current employer, I discovered that the studio has a lot of employees who play miniature wargames as well as a lot of roleplaying gamers. In fact, one of the people who was here when I first joined the studio is the local Press Ganger, and many people in the studio have at least dabbled in Warmachine or Hordes. A few months ago we decided to try Firestorm Armada, and that was my gateway drug.

I have always been fascinated with miniature models of many sorts. I would love to have a model railroad someday, and I have great appreciation for things like dioramas in museums. I think it’s a natural progression for me to combine this with my affection for and professional appreciation of games.

June 28, 2010

Death by Inches

by Nate Birkholz

I am starting this blog to track my progress as I get into the world of miniature wargames, and the game Warmachine in particular. I have dabbled with the hobby over the years, and have painted miniature figures off and on since the late 1980s for roleplaying games, but have always resisted the urge to get into a full-on hobby miniatures game until now.

In addition to Warmachine, I also play Firestorm Armada from Spartan Games, and am interested in getting into playing Wild West miniatures skirmish games. In point of fact, I might even be interested in creating a Wild West rules set just for the fun of it. I recently purchased a small supply of nine Wild West figures from Artizan and Foundry, two UK companies with a wholeheartedly catholic (with a small “c”) approach to miniatures production. The sculpts aren’t as high-quality as, say Privateer Press or Games Workshop, but they look to be fun to paint. I also want to try minis from Knuckleduster here in the US, but so far the Banditos are the only sculpts that excite me.