At the recent 7TV campaign day I fielded my Visitors cast from V. You know V, the one about the fascist space lizards who came in peace but really just wanted to eat us (and as many rodents as they could get their hands on). Oh yeah and I’m not referring to the 21st Century remake (which frighteningly is around ten years old now).
I’m a big fan of V and quite rightly the original mini series is held in high regard, as is the slightly more action packed sequel, The Final Battle. However I personally have a soft spot for the really quite terrible TV series that followed.
Possibly because this was my first exposure to the series as a teenager when Sky repeated it in the UK in the early nineties. While (I think) the series starts off well with the whole concept of Los Angeles as an open city after the second alien invasion it quickly goes downhill and degenerates into ‘space Dynasty’ by the end. For me the ‘jumping the shark’ moment was the exit of (the frankly excellent in anything) Michael Ironside from the main cast; for others I suspect this downward spiral came much earlier.
Anyhow, the point of this is that when considering a cast for my alien visitors I have included possibly an unexpected bias to some of those characters from the TV series.
Crooked Dice Alien Invaders
I based these guys using left over bases from the old Sedition Wars game
My approach has been to base these on the base 7TV second edition profiles rather than use the alien cards from the recent Apocalypse edition of the game. Following the (not too subtle) allegory of the rise of Nazism that the original mini-series followed I felt that using base profiles such as ‘Despotic Dictator’ and the various types of ‘Minion’ was a better fit.
The excellent recent releases from Crooked Dice
Supreme Commander John
Fifth Columnist Martin
The one profile that has proven tricky to get right is the iconic Visitor shock trooper. I based these guys originally on ‘Minions’ but once the advanced alien weaponry was added they felt overpowered for the number of ratings they cost. In the end I have aligned these more with the X-Commando profile from the Department X programme guide.
Visitor Shock Trooper
These guys proved challenging to build a profile for
I roughly followed the guidelines for modifying profiles which you will find in the Producers Guide of the second edition rules. In many cases this was just a case of changing the names of existing special abilities to make then fit thematically. One good example being Diana’s ‘Conversion Process’ which is simply ‘Alien Duplicate’ from the Otherworldy Invader renamed.
Now as I may have mentioned before I am rubbish at writing up battle reports. I simply cannot remember all the details of what happens in a game to a level at which I could write up something interesting. Therefore this little narrative is more about my experience of the day as both a participant and the chief organiser.
The event was put together at pretty short notice, but following the mantra of ‘if you build it, they will come’ we got a good number of players expressing interest, primarily through the highly recommended and super friendly 7TV Productions Facebook group. In the end we got about ten ‘producers’on the day, with the furthest distance being traveled from Cambridge!
The theme of the day was ‘Invasion Earth’, and there were some interesting casts fielded both in the defence of and plotting against our blue planet. So Skeletor and his evil minions rubbed shoulders with the likes of Diana’s ‘Visitors’, some ‘ack, ack’ Mars Attacks aliens and robotic centurions from the 12 colonies. Meanwhile our stalwart defenders included the SG-1 team, some special forces troops, Murtaugh and Riggs with uniformed support and of course (because it is 7TV) some East End gangsters. Of course the Guru and Shiva also chanced their arm by trying to cash in on the chaos, as did the slippery Cobra Commander and his Cobra hordes.
Following the example of other events I have attended this was very much about having fun and telling a story, rather than being in any way competitive. As a number of the Dales club members were also very new to the game I was keen to keep it as beginner friendly as possible. We worked on the basis of 30 ratings casts drawn from either the Spy-Fi or Apocalypse versions of the game (but without the use of the Apocalypse vehicle combat rules). I provided a few sample casts for folk to use who might not have access to figures and made sure we had access to quick reference sheets as well as trying to pair folk off together so veterans could play against novices.
Running at 30 ratings meant we could get at least 3 games in, and we sized most of the tables and terrain layouts to support the smaller sized games. As well as using some of my personal terrain and scenery we also lent on the extensive collection at the club. In addition we also asked for attendees to bring along a board if they could. Special mention to Carl for his airbase setup (complete with cargo transporter) which took away the prize for best ‘set designer’.
Talking of prize support, a very special thanks must go out to Karl at Crooked Dice for donating a 7TV boxed set as the top prize and Wayne from Wargames Illustrated (who attended with his Cyclons) for additional prizes of annual subscriptions to the magazine. Also massive thanks to Wayne for also donating a significant number of miniatures and models which we were able to offer to attendees for a donation to the club coffers.
So how did my games go? OK I think is the answer. I was fielding my ‘V’ cast which is pretty much exclusively based on 7TV core profiles (with some minor tweaks) using a mix of the excellent recent models from Crooked Dice as well as some older miniatures from Nexus/YFT Design Studio.
My first game was against a new club member Nigel who had turned up on the day just wanting to watch some games and was immediately drafted into the event. Fair to say I think we got another convert there. We played pretty much a ‘learning game’ on the airbase setup where the Visitors took on Hugo Solomon and Department X. Let’s just say it didn’t end up well for the lizards from Sirius.
My second game was against fellow club member and recent 7TV evangelist Robin on our ‘Weird World War’ table. This time Diana and her orange glad goons were up against the sinister Guru and his Shiva organisation. Another fun game on one of the larger boards on the day. For the life of me I cannot remember the outcome of this (I think it was a tie). The highlight had to be the draw of that classic countdown event card (‘script editing’ I think) that resulted in our stars swapping places, with hilarious consequences (not many of which were good for either of us).
Finally I was up against Kieron and his excellent ‘Masters of the Universe’ cast. Comprising of Skeletor, Beastman, Trap Jaw and other undesirables from Eternia, they just happened to find themselves in the cargo area of a typical industrial sea port. I do remember the details of this one pretty well, because due to a combination of excellent dice rolling on the one hand, terrible dice rolling on the other and really effective use of tactics I conspired to lose this game about four turns in. For the uninitiated a typical game of 7TV can last anything up to twenty or more turns! Now as we know it’s all about the narrative with a game like this, but I take some pride in being able to say I lost eleven victory points to nil in such record time.
Needless to say we had time for another game, but consigning Diana and co to the long list of failed invaders of Earth I swapped out for a small G.I.Joe Cobra cast I had put together. A much more even (and indeed longer) game was had. Again a lot of laughs and a very tight finish.
All in all an excellent day. Our club venue worked well as did the format. I think one lesson learned for future events is not to hold these on a bank holiday weekend, we had quite a list of people who were unable to attend because of this.
As I’ve already mentioned Carl won a years subscription to Wargames Illustrated for best table. Kieron won best Director (players favourite cast) with Skeletor and friends, and Colin won the overall prize for best Producer for most sporting player and favourite opponent. All awards were voted for by the participants.
I’ve been making some in roads into the huge lead pile that arrived as part of the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter. In true ‘hobby butterfly’ style I’ve just been picking stuff up to paint that I fancy the look of, rather than having any particular plan.
It goes without saying that the figures are as always with Crooked Dice lovely sculpts, with next to no clean up required. For the majority of these I’ve chosen a grey or white undercoat as a base.
In addition to the figures I’ve also been adding in some vehicles to the mix. I got an extra Interceptor in my pledge and have gone for a basic, but what I think is quite effective black colour scheme for this. It was also my first time using the Citadel technical/dry paint rust effect (I forget it’s actual name). Although this looks VERY orange in the pot once dry brushed on it gives a really subtle effect that could pass for both rust and dust.
Finally I’ve completed the conversion of the 1/43rd Teamsterz toy car I have been working on. Post apocalypse Penny has finally got her Compact Pussycat – although I feel to be properly PA we should refer to this as the Kompakt Puzzycat!
Next on the apocalypse painting production line – Science Division Hazmat troopers.
But I might be about to get distracted by dinosaurs!
Crooked Dice Game Design Studio are launching a very short Kickstarter on Friday 29th March at 7pm GMT. This is to fund a small range of 28mm scale miniatures to support the 7TV Pulp boxed set which is launching for retail at the UK Games Expo this year.
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.
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….
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!
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.
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).
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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)!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.