Saturday, June 21, 2014

FIMP - The Last Building Blocks - Objectives

I´ve some time at hand today, so I´m using it to write down some of my thoughts on my set of Houserules for Force on Force  - the Force on Force Improvement Project (FIMP) - as this has been a good way to get some more structure into my thoughts in the past. Sometimes, just writing things down can help a great deal to develop ideas even more.

The Improvement Project has undergone a great evolution in the past few months, from a simple set of alternative rules to resolve firefights to a comprehensive and interlocking set of mechanisms that tranform the entire game. The overall experience of my last games using FIMP has been a great improvement over all the aspects that bugged me with standard FoF. You really have to pay attention to your positioning, how you advance your troops and who´s able to cover their advance. Just shooting at things will usually not kill it, only through maneuver (backed up by enough fire) you´ll make real headway against your opponents.

So after the last revision, my task has merely been balancing and tweaking, the usual finetuning of the major rule mechanisms that are in place and my attention has shifted more towards scenario design. In this field, a lot of aspects are still available for improvement. My ultimate goal is to build a scenario generator that allows you to put together a good and balanced scenario within a short amount of time and without investing hours of playtesting. It´s not supposed to become the usual "build up two lists of equal forces and slug it out", but a more subtle tool that involves objectives as part of the army list. I´m aiming to create a tool that allows the creation of balanced scenarios using imbalanced forces - a small force that defends an objective against a larger formation with the task of delaying it,  Insurgents who aim not to hold the ground but inflict maximum casualties before disengaging, and the like - all the while the scenario should be winnable by both sides.
It´s a daunting task, but if I can make it work it will be most valuable for the creation of scenarios. Some of the corner stones are already set, most of the work to be done is more balancing and valuing the objectives.

And another important point - game turn limits. While developing the FIMP-mechanisms, I dispensed with the fixed scenario time limit of Force on Force. One reason was that they where not compatible with the new command and control system that replaces lengthy turns by more shorter turns with less (and a somewhat random number of) activations. Any fixed turn limit would end the game before there´s any realistic chance to win the game for at least one party. So I threw it out.

The result was (predictably) that games tended to run for quite a number of turns until it was very clear that one side didn´t have a chance of winning. Often, the turning point wasn´t very clear at all and with some luck, one faction could have overcome the situation with some luck...
So the more I played, the more I realised why other systems do use turn limits, army breaking points or other clear cut conditions for ending a scenario, because the lack of a clear cut end point stretches the game to a lengthy affair up to a point where it´s not that enjoyable anymore.

Long story short: I think I need to re-introduce the clock. Even if it may feel artificial, it´s an essential part of the suspension in the game. Knowing the game can end before you want it to end can put some real strain on you and forces tougher decisions than having all the time in the world.

However, fixed turn limits still suck, so I needed to devise another method, preferably something that integrates well with existing mechanisms, something players can influence to some degree, with more choices to make...

Of course, anything ending the game should either have some connection to the morale and organisation of either force, or the objectives taken or controlled. I wanted to avoid the usual slugfest and carnage that is encouraged by mechanisms that aim at pinning or destroying enemy units, so my first approach was to look at the objectives to give them more importance.

The basic idea is that objectives generate some kind of token which accumulate over time while you hold them, until you ultimately reach the threshold to win the game. A proper canditate for these "tokens" immediately came to mind: Fog of War cards. In FIMP, they supply a little bonus (a bonus that does matter however small it may seem) and can be collected for later or used outright. Collecting a certain amount of them to end the game certainly adds another twist as there is a conflict between short term needs and long term wants.

So, basic vision: Any controlled objective generates a fog of war card each turn, which can be used in three different ways: Collect them either for later use or to end the game if you have enough, use them for their effect or discard a card to force your opponent to discard one of his (effectively giving you some degree of control over the game length while bleeding you dry of short-term boni). Holding objectives becomes important to force an opponent to attack and holding onto them long enough will automatically end the game.

One problem looms large here: How to handle the different kind of objectives? Simple take-hold stuff is easy, but how about objectives like "X VP per enemy KIA" - they are more like on-off objectives and should not generate tokens on a per-turn basis, as the situation cannot be reversed. Once you have suffered your KIA, there´s no way to bring him back to life. Same with destroyed vehicles, disabled hotspots, evacuated vehicles or dependents. Anything that´s not a terrain feature to be held.

Two ways to handle these are: Award no tokens for them - they just supply VP if you achieve the task, which ultimately decide the game.
The other way: Draw a card each time the objective is achieved - one card whenver a vehicle is blown up for a "per vehicle destroyed" objective, and so on.

I´m leaning towards option two, but I´ll have to test if that makes certain objectives too powerful, as they would not only supply the VP but also the means to end the game when you please. So the effect is doubled up and combined with the usually bad nature for the opponent, this could be just a little too much.

We´ll see. I´ll do some playtest tomorrow and see how it works.
Regular warfare with clearly defined objectives is so much easier to design than irregular warfare scenarios ;)

Friday, June 20, 2014

More Figures on the way!

I just dispatched another set of figures to the caster, including East German Motor Rifles, Cold War SAS and a bunch of African Rebels.

To get a good number of African Rebel figures ready for the shipment to the caster, I´ve been working on a pack of Support Weapons for my African Insurgents lately - see below!  Excuse the crappy light...

One RPG, one PKM, two RPK (incl. 1 drum magazine to the right)

Furthermore, I´ve been preparing more Rebels with FALs, which seem to be in common use in the dark continent as well - these are the first two. Unfortunately I´ve exhausted my stock of FALs and have to wait for the next shipment to continue on the set, so these will take a little longer.

More work in progress on another front:

More coming soon, I hope to get some painting done over the weekend!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

More pictures of coming releases

Good weather this morning tempted me to take a few more pictures of the new masters that are going into production very soon.

First up, a team of Cold War SAS I made to bolster my own British Forces - as there´s nothing like that out there that I know of (and I know it has been requested) I hope to sell a few in addition to my private use.

There might be more later on, guys with FN FAL and of course support weapons, but this should suffice for now.

And, a little less spectacular, but by no means unimportant: African OpFor. Because all the regulars need some enemies to fight, right?  Again, more variety with different weapons in preparation, these will probably be available a little later when I got a few more guerillas finished.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Enfilade Figures - Now Online!

After a long phase of preparations and a good deal of pushing the go-live date back again and again for various reasons, I´ve finally pushed the button and taken my little webshop online. Click on the banner to get there!

Not all design details are final yet, some of the pictures require rework and will get replaced over time when I find the time to do so. For now, the site should be fully functional, you can place your orders and pay them through paypal (including credit cards via paypal). For other means of payment, please get in contact with me and we´ll sort it out.

For a start, you will most of the things I already advertised on this blog, including:
  • African Government Troops 
  • Modern Germans
  • Modern IDF
  • Insurgents
  • Taliban
While the starting selection is not impressive, I´ve silently been working on more and some of the ranges will be expanded shortly, while a few other fields are getting added. Of course, listing new figures is an investment of both time and money, which is the reason why the initial selection may seem a little small.

Please be aware that stock levels are kept very low for the startup phase for the same reason, as I have no means to determine the expected demand on the minis. If this goes off like a bomb, it might very well take a few weeks until restock arrives and I´ll be able to service more orders.

For future releases, I have some stuff on my working desk (some of it has already been presented in recent blog posts) that will get available step by step. Some of it is already in production, other packs will take a little more time Immediate releases for June and July are expected to be:
  • South African SADF
  • Another group of Taliban
  • El Presidente and his Bodyguard
  • East German Motor Rifles (reworked)
  • African Insurgents
 The overall theme for the next few releases will be "Armies of Africa" and "Armies of Germany",  which should allow for enough scope to flesh out the existing ranges while adding new stuff to a limited degree while maintaining a distinct focus. However, it´s entirely possible that I´ll throw another pack of Taliban or IDF into the mix.

For feedback, criticism, requests and ideas don´t hesitate and contact me!
Contact info can be found on the website in the footer menu! 

And because people have asked for it - here´s a comparison of the size of my figures with other manufacturers:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cold War SAS and... Witches?!

Well, not exactly - just one witch. ;)

More sculpting results from today, I´m a little underwhelmed by the output (in terms of quantity) but somehow I had a bad day in terms of productivity and couldn´t motivate myself much.

So here´s the Cold War SAS fellow, who will be part of my Cold War stuff. He´s the test figure for an initial set of four troopers, with possible expansions later on if people are interested in more.
He´s wearing a mask, so no visible hair or ears.

And the M16 is also still work in progress, but you should get the idea.

Now on to the fantasy part again, I finished the witch that has been showcased a few posts ago. Added a pair of fearsome claws, some hair flying wildly all over the place and some structure on the lower legs to resemble the birds feet.

Considering it´s my second female figure, I´m quite pleased with the result. She looks quite threatening to me and I hope you feel the same. But probably most of you have a lot of experience with women turning into furies and nothing can shock you anymore ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cold War British

Hello folks and welcome to something entirely different (again). Next to my excursion into the world of monsters (see last post), I´m painting up some of my Cold War British obtained from Elhiem a few months ago. After giving away my Africans to my friend (remember I had painted them as a christmas gift quite some time ago - not last christmas, but the one before, 2012). Now I´m seriously short on figures for regular vs. regular engagements and I´ve been wanting to do Cold War gone hot from the very start but never got to start it.

So, in order to replace my lost black child sol... ehem, my Africans, I´m building up a British Platoon.

As opponents, I´m going to use my East Germans once they get cast. I´ll have to paint some of them for the webshop anyway, so I´ll just do some more, possibly expand the range and add new poses along the way, and use the figs for gaming.

Only thing I need is more vehicles, especially BMPs or BTRs for the NVA. The British can pose as Paratroopers without any wheeled or tracked support for the moment, but the East Germans need some transports, as hese are organic part of their squads.

Do you see how good the weather was today? ;) 
Pictures where taken outside.   

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hunters and Hunted

...but who is whom?

I´ve been doing some more non-modern stuff over the weekend, after starting with my Monstrosity. Every Monster needs a Hunter to bring it down, so I sat down and threw this brave little man together:

Unfortunately the sun was not shining on the balcony anymore as I took these pics, so I had to contend with the bad lighting and apply some GIMP-magic. Still not very pleased with the photos.

You know the deal, the figures is 20mm, and it´s turned out rather small, actually closer to 20mm than the usual stuff I´m sculpting. But people in the past centuries where shorter anyway and it definitely makes the monsters more terrifying!

Speaking of Monsters... I´m working on more creatures to hunt, because there´s always more bad things lurking in the dark, things you don´t know of...

Something more humanoid this time, a Witch, in her true appearance and in fury mode, having ripped her cloth when transforming out of her human disguise and/or as a result of combat with the hunters... (still heavily WIP; of course!):

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Monstrosity

After dreaming some seriously weird stuff last night, I set out to sculpt something different, completely unrelated to modern warfare or the usual stuff I do. The dream sparked an idea, and the idea sparked this little Monstrosity:

If the idea doesn´t get lost (or my rather my interest in it) you might see some more of that kind of sculpting in the future. The Monstrosity is not completely finished, some detailwork on the fangs and legs is required. It´s 20mm Scale and about as tall as a man, so a REAL monstrosity for 1/72 figs or smaller. Slightly less so for 28mm heros, but still not trivial.

So all that´s missing now is some Hunters to cut this beast down, right? This could be the revival of the long forgotten "muskets" part of my blog... :)

Now back to the regular business, of course I didn´t just work on the monstrosity, but on a whole lot of other good stuff. Among it the rework of the East German Motor rifles, that is just about finished, with three poses replaced by new figures and the rest reworked with new heads and arms.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Germans - WIP Mix

A few quick and shoddy pictures on some of the results of my working session today. The pictures are not terribly impressive though.

One of the replacement figures for the NVA. Currently reworking the group and threw some of the poses out and started from scrap. The AK still looks too big, will have to get to work with the knife again later on... 

Preparations for more modern Germans... still awaiting a shipment of G36 to arm them! 

And another rebuilt East-German RPK Gunner. There´s more, but this is just a WIP sneak peek to fill some empty space in the blog, remember ;) 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Multicam v.3

Maybe some of you still remember my experiment with new multicam coloring last year?

I´ve recently tugged the figure back out from the lead mountain and I had an idea for another color to use as base color...

The trousers are still largely as I left them (just repainted very small areas with the new base-color to achieve some conformity with the upper part, but you can probably still spot the divide.)

The white splotches are again still slightly too large, will have to be more careful with future figures using the scheme, but the overall look and coloring appears fine to me.
Comparison with the real thing: