Spreading the joy – introducing 7TV to new players

I had the opportunity this last weekend to introduce a number of new players to the wonderful world of 7TV while attending the regular monthly meeting Dales Wargames Club at Darley Dale near Matlock.

Teaming up with Mike Wilkins from the 7TV Production Facebook group, whom I had previously met at other events last year (and unbeknown to me also happened to be friends with some of the other members at Dales), we set about taking four new players through some introductory games.

We had prepared a selection of 30 ratings casts with the idea that we could easily get through a couple of games in parallel on small tables and get people used to the game rules quickly through playing.

The casts in question were variations on the Department X and Shiva casts from the 7TV Programme Guide Volume 1, concentrating primarily on the Spy-Fi shenanigans of the core 2nd edition game.

Mike brought his excellent ‘desert compound’ table which I had previously seen at the Board in Brum day back in January.  I setup a small 2′ by 3′ board using a neoprene mat (originally from the Terminator Genesys Miniatures Game) and various bits and pieces of scenery I sourced both from home and the clubs ample terrain collection.

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I’m pretty poor at remembering exactly what happened in games (battle reports are not my strong point), but the first thing to note was the ease in which the players I was coaching through the game got both the basics of the rules and the unusual ‘meta’ concept of the game.

The latter is really helped by the mechanics of the ‘countdown deck’, and one comment that was repeated a number of time during the day was how fun it was to play.  In fact one quote was ‘I’ve not laughed this much in years while wargaming’.  I could rest my case here, but it was also worth noting at this point that the only thing that did distract my players was the allure of checking out on smart phones  what other figures and settings could be used to play.  Discworld, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Sharpe and many others were mentioned in passing….

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The Guru and his henchmen

The first game ended with the Shiva cast being axed during Act II (partly down to the Guru repeatedly mistakenly energy blasting his own co-star as he fired into a combat).

Once Mike had finished taking his newbies through their game (which lasted slightly longer than ours) and involved Fembots and a very mauve Hugo Soloman duking it out on a slightly larger table we retired for refreshments and discussion.  It was at this point, Robin who had just had his first game (and was responsible for the aforementioned blue on blue incident with the Guru) started talking about placing a club order with Crooked Dice – so job done!

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This particular extra switched side multiple times doing the game (thanks to the Guru)

The afternoon was taken up with a larger four player game that both Mike and I took part in this time.  Having setup a 6′ by 4′ city board we agreed on some ‘house rules’ to cover the additional players.  Deployment were done simultaneously and restricted to an 8′ square in each corner of the board.  Spy placement (and subsequent turn order after initiative) was determined by drawing coloured counters from a bag (well a spare coffee mug anyway).  Objective counters were placed by a neutral third (or should that be fifth) party.  For these we used Mike’s War Bases MDF crates with random victory point values pencilled underneath.  The countdown deck was beefed up to a larger than normal number of cards for the table size due to the increased number of players.

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The afternoon 4 player game setup and ready to go

The activation system worked really well.  As mentioned above we each had a different coloured counter and we took turns drawing these to randomise the turn sequence.  Once everyone had a turn, back into the mug went the full set of counters and the draw was started again.  One concession we made was that if the same person who had previously taken a turn drew first again the next time round, each other player would draw up two plot points each (this actually happened at least once).

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Due to a set dressing error this scenery shortly shifted a few inches – got to love those countdown cards

So in this game we had two different factions of Department X going up against an alien invasion of ‘visiting’ aliens and Mike’s interesting mix of Spectrum/Bond/Yakuza types!

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One of the two opposing Department X casts
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…and the others
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Lots of pointing!

It was during this game that we got the biggest laugh of the day when an early countdown card caused the swap in positions between two star and left General Gordon of Department X right in the middle of the lizard like invaders.  Despite dispensing five rounds rapid (or at least trying to), the poor General wasn’t too long for this world.  Unfortunately time got away from us and we had to call it a day before the venue closed.

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Close encounters – it did not end well for General Gordon

By this point it was even more obvious that we had a hit on our hands as there was open talk of holding a 7TV campaign day at Dales in the near future (more on that soon).

So all in all an excellent day.  7TV continues to be my favourite game and the reaction we had from new players at the club really reinforced for me why I like it so much.  No one was really bothered about who won, a lot of imagination was stoked in terms of thinking about potential figures and casts and most importantly we all had a really enjoyable day playing with toy soldiers.  Which is really what it is all about isn’t it?

Epilogue

A quick should out for the Dales Wargames Club.  We meet usually on the 3rd Sunday of each month in the wonderful setting of the Whitworth Centre in Darley Dale, just outside Matlock in Derbyshire.  We play loads of different games (are always happy to try out new things) and are very welcoming to new comers.  If you are interested in finding out what we are up to, or when the next meeting is please check out our Facebook group.

 

 

 

7TV Apocalypse Vehicles – Interceptor and The Compact Pussycat

More work on the post-apocalyptic motor pool as I prepare for my first full game of 7TV Apocalypse.

Never one to start one new project, when I could do two in parallel, I’ve embarked on building the Crooked Dice V8 Interceptor resin kit and also a conversion of a die cast toy.  The latter is going to be the wheels for my PA ‘Penelope Pitstop’ figure which along with the Interceptor I picked up as part of the recent Kickstarter.

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The (second to) last of the V8 Interceptors

So first off the Interceptor kit.  I originally got hold of one of these when they were released last year and made sure I included another in my Kickstarter pledge.  This is a really nice, crisply cast resin model with loads of accessories.  Taking it’s inspiration from the Mad Max films, the extra bits and pieces allow it to be built in a number of configurations.

I had previously built and painted this as a ‘Main Force Patrol’ police pursuit car from the original Mad Max.  Looking back I wasn’t too keen on paint job I’d done, so the chance to built another one and make a better fist of it wasn’t to be passed up.

I’ve decided to go with a much more wastelands ‘last of the V8s’ look for this one, with the addition of the massive rear shield (which puts me in mind of the Death Race remakes of recent years).

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All the bits for the build (leaving plenty left over)

Following a soak in warm soapy water and using pound shop superglue the pieces went together really well (with minimal clean up required).  I was also left with plenty of accessories left over to use on other kits and conversions.

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Flipping the chassis over to attach the exhausts shows just what an amazingly clean cast the kit is
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Exhausts attached
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Bonnet and air intake / super charger (I think, I’m not really a car person)!
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Wheels attached – I’d attached one of the exhausts too far down the chassis, so one of the rear wheels needed some ‘persuasion’ to put into place
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Ready to attach the bonnet – the engine enclose contains sculpted detail in case you wanted to leave it open (just one of the nice touches on this kit)
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Finished kit ready for painting (bumper and rear shield in place)
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That rear shield should afford some protection out on the roads!

The Compact Pussycat (with claws)

Despite having a huge pile of figures to paint up from the Kickstarter all of which are excellent, there are a couple that stuck out that I really wanted to get to the top of the queue. One of these was the aforementioned Penny.  Now of course, Penny needs a ride for the ‘wacky wasteland races’, so off the the big pile of unused Teamsterz cars it was then.

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Teamsterz Street Machine (approximately 1/43 scale) with conversion bits from Crooked Dice

Using some of the left over Interceptor bits and bits from the stowage set I’ve come up with my own interpretation of the ‘Compact Pussycat’ (only this time with guns)!

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The guns were left over from the Interceptor kit.  Glued together as a twin linked set.
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The pimped up ride, ready for paint
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Bull bars adding a bit of grunt!
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Stowage bits from Crooked Dice

Paint job has yet to be finalised, and as I have now got the full boxed set of rules through for 7TV Apocalypse I shall also be shortly stating up this motor.

You can purchase the Interceptor kit directly from Crooked Dice, where you will also find the stowage sets and loads of other PA goodies for the tabletop.

You can find Teamsterz (sometimes called Roadsterz) in various discount stores and toy shops up and down the UK.

More soon…..

7TV Apocalypse Vehicles – Tamiya conversion

Having recently taken delivery of both the rules and a huge set of miniatures from the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter I decided I should probably finish off some of my incomplete PA projects before diving into any new stuff.

Back at the Wargames Illustrated 7TV day last summer I came away with a 1/48 scale Tamiya kit from the prize pool.  This was a World War II SS-100 aircraft tractor, but I immediately saw the opportunity for some conversion work to make this suitable for the wastelands.

Tamiya SS-100

The build of the basic kit was fairly straightforward and I cut some corners in terms of the detail (for example leaving out the interior and some of the smaller body work bits) to make it both more suitable for conversion and more sturdy as a gaming piece.

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Using some of the conversion parts made available by Crooked Dice and a few bits and pieces from the spares box (including some 1:1 scale car body mesh) I gave it a suitably shabby and cobbled together PA look.

I completed the build last year and it has sat on my hobby work bench ever since.  Inspired by the arrival of lots of lovely figures from the Kickstarter I was spurred on to finish painting and weathering it.

Basecoat was a from a spray can (Plastic Soldier Company Olive Drab) with a few suitably muted block colours used for stowage.  The exception being the fuel tanks on both the original kit and the conversion parts which I picked out in red.

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Weathering was completed using a thinned down wash of Army Painter Strong Tone wash and chipping was done using a dark brown using the sponge technique (a cross between dry brushing and stippling using a piece of foam).  The gunner was picked out in blacks and greys – the gas mask giving him an almost SAS look.

All in all I’m pretty please with the overall result.  It was quite a quick, but I think effective paint job.  I’m also thinking that this vehicle would go really well with the ‘Mutant Hill Mob’ cast, so I think they are going to move close to the top of my 7TV Apocalypse to-do list.

7TV Mutant Hill Mob

Red Shadows Helicopter

I recently picked up an inexpensive die cast toy helicopter and have set about quickly adding it to the ranks of Baron Ironblood’s forces.  This was a relatively quick and easy conversion using as it’s basis a Teamsterz Rescue Helicopter, which cost me about £4.

Taking advantage of the unseasonably good weather I was able to spray this up quickly outside using Halfords Black as a primer followed by an all over of Humbrol Crimson and then a zenith highlight (well a top down spray) of Humbrol Red.

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Halfords Black primer provides a wonderfully Matt finish when dry

The Humbrol sprays while being acrylics were gloss.  I’d didn’t think this would look too out of place for a chopper, however it ended up being a little too shiny, so this was solved with a once over of Testors Dullcote (which also provided a good base for the details and highlights).

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Humbrol gloss crimson applied – shiny!
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Red highlight – even shinier!

The toy had some decent panel lined detail, so I highlighted this using a black marker pen (designed for lining Gundam models).  Windows were painted with Citadel Magragge Blue and tints were applied using a white Gundam marker this time.  Other bits and pieces were painted black or silver and really that was it.

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Post Dullcote, windows done, awaiting panel lining

It wasn’t until after I had nearly finished that I noticed the screw holes holding the model together on one side.  Had I realised from the start these would have been filled, however as a gaming piece I can live with this.

Final touch was the addition of some decals which I had picked up a few months back on eBay.

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Decals – originating from a Tattoo studio in the US
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Survivalist for scale!

There we have it – air transport for the Baron.  Scale is just about OK for 28mm scale miniatures, if anything it is slightly large, but hey, more room for Mutons!

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Battle Action Force – Operation Bloodhound – helicopter getaway

Next up for the Shad motor pool is an armoured car based on a 1/43rd die cast Puma….

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Robogear – the ultimate bits box

A few years ago while hoovering up random bits and pieces on eBay to resell via my old online store I happened across a starter box for a tabletop miniatures game called Robogear.

This was a science fiction game with plastic miniatures and vehicles,  released in the UK by Airfix in the noughties.  As an aside, I’ve since found out that the background to the game is slightly more complicated than simply an attempt by an (at the time) ailing scale model company to grab a piece of Games Workshop’s 40k market.  More on that in a bit.

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Airfix version of the Starter Set

The starter set I got hold of contained a lot of half built models and in the end I sold it off for not much more than I bought it for.  Not a hugely interesting story so far I’m sure you’ll agree.

However over the past few years as my gaming and hobby has become (slightly) more focused I got to thinking about how much potential there was in the Robogear starter box for a couple of the projects I have on the go.  In particular the set contained some interesting plastic terrain (in the form of platforms and gantries), that would not only do for Kill Team, but also would slot quite nicely into some of the post-apocalypse scenery I have been building for 7TV.  Similarly the vehicles could be cannibalised for bits for wasteland vehicles, but more specifically many had a 40k Imperial Guard feel to them.

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Stat card for one of the Starter Set models

So back to ‘the online auction site’ it was.  After a bit of searching around I managed to pick up two nearly completed starter boxes for only a tenner (albeit with the terrain bits missing), as well as complete unopened box for not that much more.

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Two for a tenner – bargain!

First thing to say is that the infantry figures are really not very good.  They are pretty large (maybe 1/48 to 1/35 scale) and very basic.  They are multi-part but are built with articulation that really puts them in the category I feel of a mini action figure rather than a wargames miniature.  Some of the hand weapons may get reused, but I suspect these will find themselves either in the back of a drawer or re-sold at some point soon.

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The not great figures

The vehicles on the other hand have a lot of potential.  Stylistically they are a bit ‘confused’.  There are elements of hard science fiction here, but also a touch of the grim dark too, as well as a bit of Battletech.  Various vehicles are included and these can be built in a number of ways – either with tank tracks, mech-style legs (think Astra Millitarum Sentinel) or insectoid (think Zoids!).

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Example of some of the part built vehicles (28mm figure for scale)

The weapons are of variable styling and quality and it has to say, again, that some of these look quite toy like.  There is a reason for this however, in the rules for the Robogear game you can either play with ‘virtual combat’ (i.e. rolling dice), or physical combat (yes the weapons actually fire mini missiles in some cases)!  All of this however could be worked out by swapping out bits and pieces from other spare parts in the bits box.  There are also a couple of ‘flyers’ in the box, again these have potential, but maybe not as much as the ground vehicles.

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Example of a complete frame

As I mentioned, only one of the three boxes I acquired contained the scenery components.  Now these do look useful.  Designed to be reconfigurable, they are provided with a ‘clip’ system to hold everything together (but not necessarily permanently).  Looking into the current availability of these terrain kits I discovered more about the background of Robogear itself.  It turns out that Airfix bought the rights in for the system from a Russian company called Tehnolog (similarly in the US the same game and kits were released and marketed by both IMEX and Pegasus Hobbies).

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Hexagon / Platformer Terrain from the Starter Set

 

A further search on eBay and I found a trader in Russia selling brand new Robogear kits for a bargain price of about $8 a kit.  I’ve ordered a few of this, with my eyes on the flyers as Imperial Guard air support and the buggy to be added to the wastelands of my post-apocalypse gaming.

 

Furthermore I also happened at the same time across this beauty of a kit from the same stable.  A modular chemical plant kit that snaps together and will be another fine addition to my stock of terrain pieces for multiple games.  Like a lot of the Tehnolog kits this appears to have been released by another firm for the Western market (in this case Pocketbond).

All in all I can see a huge amount of potential with all these purchases for conversions and kit bashing and can see them working across loads of my existing projects (and maybe spawning a few new ones).

First on the list, a proxy for an Imperial Guard Sentinel and we’ll then see where things go from there….

 

 

 

7TV Pulp Blog (and a whole load of apocalypse)

Today I visited the Robin Wargames Trade show in Nottingham, primarily to pick up my 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter from Karl at Crooked Dice, but also to have a general ‘mouch’ about while trying not to spend any money.

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A big box of goodies collected today

I’ll be doing a quick write up of Robin and an overview of the Apocalypse Kickstarter items in another post shortly, but in the meantime I just wanted to point you the reader in the direction of the 7TV Pulp blog.

7TV Pulp is due for release at UK Games Expo later in the year, and is a unique collaboration between Crooked Dice Design Studio and Edge Hill University.  You can find out more about the game on their new blog, which includes a game design and development diary.

The Pulp version of 7TV is an ode to the cinema serials, crime novels and ‘pulp’ magazines of the 30’s and 40’s; with a serious nod also to the cosmic horror of HP Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos, as well as the cinematic outings of Nazi bashing archaeologists everywhere.

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Some of the existing Crooked Dice Pulp-style miniatures – soon to be joined by a whole lot more

I was lucky enough to have Karl show me some of the figure previews for the Pulp range and there are some corkers in there.  With such a wide genre definition, there’s sure to be something for everyone.  I for one am working on a ‘Flash Gordon’ cast that should slot in nicely, that said I have a lot of post-apocalypse to get through in the meantime…..

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Lots of post-apocalypse miniatures now in the lead pile

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard – The Sons of Skaro

Or should I say Astra Militarum?

I recently posted about my return to Warhammer 40k after a couple of decades off.  My faction of choice for both 40k and the smaller scale Kill Team are the Imperial Guard.  There is something appealing to me about the freedom that fielding a Guard army gives in terms of background and modelling (especially if you look beyond the official line of Games Workshop / Citadel Miniatures).  I also really like tanks!

As per usual I’ve got more than one related project on the go at once.  On the back burner are my ‘Empire of Men not Death Korps of Krieg’ troops.  I started off thinking I’d use this in a Weird World War game (and painted the armour accordingly); however since the Kill Team bug has bitten I think I’ll be diverting them to the front line of the Grim Dark.

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Male Stormtroopers by Archon Studio – totally not Death Korps of Krieg
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My Empire of Men Stahlratte – not quite the right livery for 40k!

In the meantime however I’ve been continuing to expand my basic guard force from a Kill Team to a full 40k army.  Having concentrated on tanks initially I’ve recently gone back and continued to flesh out the grunts.  Primarily using the standard Cadian models with some head swaps from the Tempestus Scions kit to distinguish my veterans.  I have stuck with the colour scheme that harks back to the original Rogue Trader plastic set.

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I’ve also started to think about the background for my regiment.  So these guys originate from the planet Skaro.  In ancient times the home of a mythical race of metallic war like creatures….

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Over the millenia mutations have come full circle and the inhabitants of this once irradiated world have come full circle and back into the light of humanity!

This has got me thinking though – Chaos Daleks……