Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Airborne Assault

My buddy, DJ Dildonic, has taken an interest in Flames of War, and we've been playing a few little games, but it was finally time to roll it all out and play big. So we went all out on the table lay out, and he pushed around my Panzergrenadiers while I got some advanced training in parachute assaults. We played using whatever they call the Airborne assault mission in D-1, "Seize and Hold," or something like that.

Oh and hay, I usually don't say this any more but I kinda like some of these pics, so "right click, view image" to see it full-size.

For extra flavor, the objective models we used were in fact the guns from an 88mm AA battery, pointed skyward. They were not to fire in the game, but, "Secure the town and silence the guns," sounded to us like a very Paratrooper thing to do.

Ariel reconnaissance provided the following photographs before the battle:


Local resistance fighters also supplied useful, ground-level views of the town (executed here with buildings from The Miniature Building Authority.)

Just before the opening rounds were fired, my Pathfinder was inserted at the proper position, referred to by the troops as "Corner 4." This man knows his job, too, as 100% of my force, and about half the enemy reserves, entered play via this corner. It got crowded.

As planes flew over head and angels fell from the sky, the Hun was quick to rally his troops and move them into position (they'd been fooled my counter-intelligence, and the removal of one objective.).

The first few turns went fast and furious, with all the action centered around Corner 4, with a battery of quad 2cm rolling in on Turn 1 and a Panzergrenadier platoon showing up in the same place on turn 3. This is what it all looked at by the end of my turn 4:

Leaving the guns to fend mostly for themselves, 2nd and 3rd platoons started moving into position, with 3rd making a flank move around the farm and 2nd moving past the bogs towards the objective.

2nd Platoon encountered light resistance:

But were soon in position to threaten the nearer of the two guns:

A few tanks threatened a counter attack, but were destroyed by combined artillery and close assault, forcing a failed moral check by the rest, who left the field. And with that, I had technically won the scenario.

But we didn't feel finished, we both still had a bunch of crap on the table, and hay, it was only 1:30 am, right? The solution was obvious: just keep playing, and fight over new objectives that made sense. There were a few loose teams that could have annoyed me on the way to the other 88mm, but they were clearly not going to stop me. So the Germans abandoned the town, and right then and there we started a second game: could Dildonic get out of the town? More importantly, could he blow the bridges before the Allies could get across? This was a very achievable goal, as I had the whole town and most of his force between my men and the river bridges.

And thus, the race was on. I made liberal use of Truscot Trot as my boys hauled ass around and through the town to get into position to stop Dildonic's demolitions attempt.

As 1st Platoon ran around the church they were intercepted by a platoon of Puma scout cars, of whom short work was made.

Aircraft (Skytrains subbing in for P-47s) made a constant, if irrelevant, showing in the fight.

In the end, it all came down to his attempts to blow the bridge -- the one bridge blown would, in our minds, win the game for him. After all, what goods a town if you can't advance an armored column through it? For this part of the game, we adapted the rules for blowing bridges from the Firestorm: Bagration campaign rules. Basically, you need a guy to pass a skill check at each corner of the bridge, then back up an make one more to blow the thing. One team failed the first check, leaving him hanging there for that one more turn I needed to sneak something up there.

The combat action ceased with my scout's acceptance of the German surrender on Turn 10.

And hay, it was only 5:30 am!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Music --- Viking Metal

OK, so right off the top, some folks call this kind of thing "Folk Metal," but I'm going with the more generic and open term "Viking Metal," by which I mean heavy riffs and heavy armor, the sort of band best suited to the nexus between metal and LARP.

I'm personally not too into the lighter Epic Metal, stuff like Blind Guardian -- too much hair metal in there, not enough brutality. It is nice stuff, and I do like it, I just don't listen too it much. Mostly while playing Lord of the Rings games. But I like chainmail, I'm descended from northern Europeans, and I'd like to go a' Viking, so what sounds like that to me?

I could have included these guys in the Chick Metal post, but what the hell, they call their male lead a freakin' Uruk Hai! I dunno, maybe its the all-Tolkien inspired lyrics, watch a video or two, and you tell me if Battlelore LARP:
Journey to Undying Lands
House of Heroes
Storm of the Blades
War of Wrath
Sons of Riddermark

This would be a great time for me to thank whoever it was that hooked up the metal bands with the kids making LOTR fanfilms. The two are definitely stronger together than apart. The Hunt for Gollum is a really good one, by the way.

OK, I didn't want to do them first, but it would be pretty hard to talk about Viking Metal for long without mentioning Amon Amarth, the closest to a big name band as the genre sports (hay, they're big in Europe.) but then they are kinda custom made for a pissed off suburban kid who thinks he's descended from Vikings like me.

Twilight Of The Thunder God
Guardians Of Asgaard
Runes To My Memory
Cry Of The Black Birds
The Dragons' Flight Across the Waves

I'm actually pretty taken with the whole Folk Metal/Viking Metal thing. Some of these bands are just too much fun, like drinking songs outta be!

Korpiklaani sings a song of drunken midgets!
Wooden Pints
Beer Beer
Hunting Song
Keep On Galloping

FINNTROLL... what's not to like? If Conan was a comedy, this would be the soundtrack.

Kivimetsän Druidi call themselves "epic fantasy metal" from Finnland. Lovely, classically beautiful blond on back up vocals here.
Jaassa Varttunut
The Tyrant

Villieläin seem promising, and pretty new. Not as heavy as some, but kinda nice all the same.

So far, I've been enjoying all this new brutality I've been finding, and there is a ton of this stuff out there. Then I started thinking about the Viking Metal and figured other white kids in metal bands from other countries might be trying to resurrect their barbarian past, too, so I looked around for Celtic metal.

ELUVEITIE seem to be a bigger act, and they speak in galic some, which is nice. They also benefit from some rather bonnie lasses.
Your Gaulish War
Slanias Song

Waylander do it with a "lord of the river ass whippin'" vibe, with extra flutes and bagpipes.
Born to the Fight
Beyond the ninth Wave
King of the Fairies

So, there you go. Savage barbarism at its finest. Looks around, and let me know if you find anything good. Later on I might get out of metal mode, maybe plug in some power tools and post a few links.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Music --- METAL!

I haven't kept up with music like I used to since I got out of school -- the Rave thing was dieing out, Industrial was stuck in a rut, and NuMetal sucked, so for a while there I just kept listening to the same old CDs. I eventually got bored with them and music listening kind of petered out over all, aside from my habit of picking up a new Goth band at every big convention I go to (I always did manage to keep this up, which is a Good Thing.) Well, a few (ok, several) years later and I realized I wasn't listening to much of shit. It was time for some new tunes.

So I opened up a thread or two on a few forums I'm on (like this thread) and the results have been great. Turns out in the last few years Rave is gone but a lot of folks still like to dance all night and Goth has made a big come back. Industrial is still (mostly) stuck on the ol' 4-4 beat but there's some nice metal/industrial cross over stuff, especially in Europe. And (I think Metalocalypse for this) metal has made a full-on fucking come-back, with gimicks: chick singers, Folk metal, and epic LARP soundtracks abound. Lots of chaff among the wheat, but its always like that. I found a few things I really, really like so I've decided to start cross-posting some of this action here. That's right, the workshop is gonna start recommending music!

First, best band name ever:
Cock And Ball Torture - Anal Sex Terror. God, they sound like shit.

Now, a few bands I found because they got used in movie trailers:
The Used - The Bird and The Worm which was used in the trailer for Clash of the Titans
Coheed and Cambria - Welcome Home, appearing on the "9" trailer.

Old Stuff:
Maybe worth including, some links to heavy Death Metal stuff I enjoyed so much in high school:
Strapping Young Lad
Napalm Death (who the hell didn't listen to Napalm Death?)
Morbid Angel (I wore this out so hard, in highschool I called my Space Marines the Morbid Angels)
Deicide (if you play it backwards, you get a communion wafer)
Sepultura (when this came on Head Bangers Ball, me and my buddy were instantly transformed into Beavis and Butthead on the couch, and Metallica was forever relegated to the "not that heavy" slot.) another song.

So, I think Metalocalypse sort of got me back into new music. They showed me that, with a sense of humor, I could enjoy metal again. And I love them for it.
Go Into the Water
Dethharmonic (featuring Emilie Autumn, of whome we'll speak later.)
Laser Cannon Deth Sentence

I just thought of this, but how fuckin' cool would it be for Deathklok to make a guest appearance on the Venture Brothers?

I like a good gimick, especially when it comes to metal. You know, gimmicks like a cartoon show, female vocalists, and vikings. Now, when I say "metal with a chick singing," I'm NOT talking about Evanescence. Even if they hadn't lost me on the christian lyrics, their whole sound was just too produced, too pretty, not brutal, and basically they ain't metal. At all. Lacuna Coil is good, but not really metal, either. Here are some bands, playing actual metal, with some brutal bitch belting it out:

The Agonist: modern (slightly produced) death metal with a girl up front, alternately singing and growling. Young America at its finest.
Business Suits and Combat Boots
Thank You Pain
Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep

SIRENIA is a good bit cheesier/more produced but its not too bad (more goth than metal)
The Path To Decay
Save Me From Myself

UNSUN is also pretty produced and a bit "Hot Topic," but they might go somewhere:

ARCH ENEMY is like Iron Maiden, but not lame. And this chick is brutal: if you didn't see her you might not guess it was a woman, and she's NOT just eye candy out front. Their sound is much more an old 80s speed metal, not a bunch of over-processed synth stuff. This is actually what I'm listening to while I post all this.
My Apocalypse
We Will Rise
Enemy Within

Austrian Death Machine
No chicks here, but I'm gonna link to it anyway. Most band have a gimmick, a shtick if you will. But the prize for most-nerd-rage-inducing gimmick just might go to the band whose inspiration comes entirely from Schwarzenegger action movies. How can you go wrong with titles like, "Come with Me if You Want to Live," "If it Bleeds We Can Kill It," "I am a Cybernetic Organism," and, "Get to the Choppa?"
That's all I'm going to post just at the moment, but there will be more: I've still gotta tell y'all about the new Industrial and Folk Metal acts I've dug up.

Oh, and I'm still working on those Space Hulk figures....