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Campaign building blocks

July 14, 2011

For any miniature game, you generally need the following: miniatures, terrain and rules. In this post I’ll do a bit of an inventory of what of each of those three elements I have available for Triton-4.

Miniatures

It should come as no surprise that as far as miniatures are concerned, I’m pretty well covered. As a result of both my own collecting and my Aliens, Predator and Colonial Marine miniature reviews I’m nicely stocked. I also have a few other nasties in store, which I’ll save until later. Just in case my players happen to read this.

I just received the scientists and utility crew that I ordered from Victory Force Miniatures. Joining them is be the not-Bishop from Woodbine Designs. I’ve also been thinking of ordering more inspectors from Heresy. Inspector Knuckles is already doing his rounds as a combat synthetic, and I think that with matching paint jobs the more peaceful-looking others would make for nice additions to the crew. I will need the civilian types to add some variety to the games, as they can be for example objectives (“Find the missing synths”), targets for rescue or protection (“Escort the scientists to the crashed ship”) or simply random encounters (“A feverish colonist staggers out of the jungle”).

I’ve also been thinking of investing in an APC for the CMs, probably this from Old Crow.

Shown in the pictures below is the current cast for the campaign, starting with the Marines.

Click for a larger version

I think the photo very nicely demonstrates the benefits of a unified  colour scheme. The fifteen Marines above look like a unit. Look a little closer, and you’ll see there are big variations in body proportions, style and gear. The models in the picture above come from no less than seven different manufacturers (em4, Copplestone, Prince August, 1st Corps, Denizen, Hasslefree and GW), and yet the simple paint scheme and unified basing tie the models together nicely. There are a lot more CMs waiting to be painted, but these guys and gals are a good start.

28 mm Predators

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Here are my Predators, sans the wonderful Hürn from Heresy, who sits almost finished on my painting desk. Being bigger than the others, he’ll make for a nice pack leader.

Horrorclix Aliens

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And here are as many Xenomorphs that I could cram into one picture. They’re missing their mommy, since the queen was far too big to fit in and is not yet finished.

Terrain

I’ve been working more than usual on my terrain. I currently have 16 CDs covered with jungle terrain. When I placed the first bunch on the table, I noticed that they looked a bit too sparse. This is due to the fact that I wanted to be able to position models on the pieces, as well as simply skimping on my terrain building materials. The newer ones that I’ve built are much more dense, and will be scattered around to create the illusion of a thicker jungle. I’m also intending to build small vignettes of some jungle pieces. Maybe a few skinned corpses? Chestburst animals? A cluster of eggs?

I’ve also been wanting to use a large outdoor fountain element ever since I bought it (see this post from a year back). Thus far it has seen no action whatsoever, but will surely be utilised here.

I also received a bunch of scenic elements from Ainsty – crates, barrels and the like – which I’m using to make something to represent a military camp. I’ve also just ordered some barbed wire pieces from Products for Wargamers, more supplies from Old Crow and sandbag walls from Fantascene.  The should make a nice, Vietnam war -style jungle camp. For the time being I will settle on a temporary looking camp, and as the campaign progresses, I’ll maybe add something to it, such as landing pads etc.

Here is most of my current terrain setup on my gaming boards in a few different configurations.

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Here’s the table in its entirety. I placed a Marine communications setup in the middle as well as some CMs to show the size of the table.

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Here’s a close-up of the comm setup. The dish is from a plastic toy, the pole a piece of an old GW building and the pegs around it from an IKEA bookshelf. The beacon in the middle is from Ainsty, and the barricade from a plastic army men set. The plants are aquarium plants. I’ve used different flocks to differentiate the camp terrain from the jungle. However, I’m also trying to convey the feeling that the jungle quickly creeps in around whatever the humans build.

Click for a larger version

Here’s the monstrous fountain element. It’s so big that I’ll probably need to add a third table (I have four sheets) to accommodate it. See the lone Marine for scale. I think I’ll have entire scenarios centered on this piece of terrain, since its build is very good for that. Just imagine the Marines defending the mouth of that gully, and you’ll see what I’m getting at. Or just take at this little diorama from way back when I bought it.

Rules

This section is the easiest and most complete. Flying Lead from Ganesha Games suits my needs nicely. It’s a fast-flowing system, which leaves plenty of room for narration and improvisation while also presenting players with tactical dilemmas and the like. As GG’s games use similar mechanics, I should be able to easily port extra rules from Fear and Faith, GG’s horror game.

We had our first playtest last week, and really enjoyed it. The system worked fine for what we’re going after, so I’m really pleased. We also worked that playtest already into the campaign – naturally it was the final bootcamp simulation before the actual mission.

So there, my plans so far for the campaign. Now I turn to you, dear readers. Tens of heads are usually better than one, so feel free to provide me with ideas, tips and even requests. Are there minis you think I could use? Got an idea for a terrain piece or vignette? Send them in, I’ll be eternally grateful and hopefully use them.

I’ve also been thinking of making a small tutorial on how I made the jungle pieces. Is there a call for an article like that?

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9 comments

  1. Awesome….

    I have the Denizen Mid Tech Troopers for the same general idea. I will have to check out the rules you reference…

    Jimmy


    • Hi Jimmy, thanks for the comment. Flying Lead has already proven itself to be a smooth-running, excellent system. I highly recommend it!


  2. Wow! This is looking great…
    I would recommend Mel Ebbles APC M722 Light Expeditionary Vehicle if you can get a hold on it. At least that’s what I will be using sooner or later + his dropship (which is taking me forever to build at the moment 🙂 )


    • Thanks Stefan! Are those cardboard? Man, I’m terrible at building those..:D


  3. Looking good Mikko 🙂

    The big “fountain” piece is cool. It reminds me of the canyon in the scene on planet “P” in the Starship Troopers movie (Rasczak shoots a trooper in the chest to spare him from the unpleasantness of being dismembered by Hopper Bugs). Thats a very good thing to be reminiscent of if you ask me.

    “so feel free to provide me with ideas, tips and even requests”

    Seeing as you asked…

    Rather than adding more trees, maybe some of the more spartan jungle bases could do with extra vegetation at ground level, rather than more narrow trunks. Some cheap lichen or clump foliage could do it and you wouldnt even have to glue it on so you could still sit figures in it easily.

    Covering a wargames table in “vegetation” is difficult and a little impractical for a load of reasons. When GW released their Catachan Guard codex back at the turn of the century they inverted the emphasis: the table was taken to be already covered in foliage, with things like paths and clearings deliniated with lichen or whatever. Jungle pieces, lichen, bushes and rocks were liberally strewn around the jungle areas as pleasing visual cues, but the emphasis was on the areas that were not overgrown. I was sceptical about that approach until I played a few games like that which worked very well.

    Maybe adapting some of that approach might work. It would also spare you having to make and store even more tall, awkward jungle bases so that you could focus on the cooler bits like the camp (which I am looking forward to seeing completed) or paths or ruins or objectives etc. It looks to me that you have loads of jungle bases made (sixteen in the photo above). More might be redundant and maybe demoralising to build when you could be building something more fun that the next game can revolve around.

    Before I forget, the Marines look fantastic together but the Preds look even better mixed in with the clear guys and the de-cloaking figure.

    Keep us in the loop re progress 🙂


    • Thanks for the insightful comment, Paul, as well as the kind words regarding the miniatures!

      I think you’re right about the jungle. I don’t think I’ll be building new jungle pieces apart from a few special vignette pieces. As you said, I have plenty and building many more would start to get demoralizing fairly quickly. The way we are playing it currently is that the whole table is assumed to be covered with jungle, but the separate pieces indicate thicker areas, providing cover and blocking LOS in terms of the rules.

      Next up is the camp, then! Information will flow.


  4. Wow. I’ve been pulling together ideas to run a very similar game for my group: a warpg starring colonial marines operating out of a scrappy colony on a dusty windswept desert world. The players will send the marines out on missions and uncover the remnants of a previous colonization attempt, and all the horror that lurks therein.

    My marines are Pig Iron Heavy Infantry troopers, and I think they’re fantastic — definitely a unique look, quite unlike many other generic marines. They’re so unique that you could easily paint up 1 or 2 and use them as special characters or officers. Just a thought, I know you have your minis pretty well sketched out.

    Lastly, you’ve inspired me to check out my local home & garden stores to see if I can find my own huge fountain centerpiece.


    • Thanks for the comment, your project sounds very similar to mine (great minds think alike, no?) and I’d love to hear how it turns out. The Pig Iron troopers are something that I’ve been ogling for a long time, and I’ve begun to consider maybe using some as a kind of heavy marine – environmental suits or something like that. And yes, home & garden stores tend to carry a lot of larger pieces for fountains and garden decoration, so it’s well worth a look.


  5. […] finally finished, after sitting half-painted on my desk for ages. Seriously, I’ve written on July 14, 2011: Here are my Predators, sans the wonderful Hürn from Heresy, who sits almost finished on my […]



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