Penguin Space Ships!

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My family and I went to the Toledo Zoo this weekend. (Which, believe it or not, is probably one of the best zoos in the country, right here in little ol’ Toledo, Ohio.) In the Aquarium, along the ceiling, they had these really cool penguin… trash sculptures. I don’t know what else to call them. They are all made from recycled and reused materials. Mostly clothes hangers and kitchen utensils, from what I can see.

And not only do they make really nice penguins, but I think they make pretty cool space ships!

Take a look and see for yourself.

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Military SF, Space Opera, and Adventure: Ten Books in One!

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I’m honored to have been invited to contribute to the Cosmic Clashes book bundle. My trio of sci-fi stories The Scythe of Kronos has therefore joined this 10-book bundle of out of this world excitement! And you can nab all ten books for less than a buck a piece!

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It’s time to take flight and fight the good fight on the final frontier! The excitement never ends as you launch into a starry realm of intergalactic battles, adventures through space, and ultimate rewards for high-tech genius and bravado. Leap between universes and soar through the stars, led by the boldest heroes of the cosmos. The Cosmic Clashes bundle will take you on the unforgettable interstellar thrill rides you’ve been dreaming of all your life.

This bundle includes the work of Dean Wesley Smith, Sabrina Chase, Stefon Mears, Robert Jeschonek, Harvey Stanbrough, Russ Crossley, Michael Warren Lucas, Perry A. Wilson, and Blaze Ward.

Oh yeah, and me.

Click these links to find it at its home on BundleRabbit, Amazon, B&N, Apple iBooks, and Kobo. Grab this 10-book deal while it lasts!

 

Warhammer 40K, neXt edition: Overwatch

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I’ve decided to throw all my radical 40K ideas under “neXt edition” with an emphasis on the “X”. Sounds good for now, right? Might change again by the time I brainstorm more rules; you know, when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting on the throne or something like that.

Today I was waiting at the VA medical clinic and thinking about my previous idea on overwatch revamping. My latest development, then, is this:

OVERWATCH

When a unit declares a charge on yours, you can elect to fire overwatch. You don’t have to, as you only get one overwatch attempt/shot per turn. If you don’t think those guys are going to make it, you might want to save it for another potential charger. You might also decide you’d rather prepare for combat than take pot shots (see below).

In order to muster your troops for a last second volley of shots against a unit charging your position, your squad/models must make a successful Leadership roll. If the unit is influenced by a squad leader or sergeant, HQ model aura, whatever, use that Leadership/modifier, as well as any negative buffs that might reduce their Ld.

If they succeed on their Ld roll, they may fire on the chargers at their normal BS and at the same range as they are when the charge is declared. Weapons out of this range may not fire. Rapid fire, assault, and pistols may fire. Heavy weapons, artillery, and vehicle weapons may not. Once shots are fired, the chargers make their charge roll and move forward to engage. They may or may not fail this charge due to a bad roll or possibly being out of range now due to now-dead models.

If the Ld roll is failed, the overwatch squad attempts to get it together but fails. They’ve spent their overwatch attempt this turn and still are “unready for combat.”

Units that attempt and/or succeed at Overwatch shots are considered “Unready for Combat” when they receive the chargers. This means that for the remainder of this combat round, they count as Initiative 1 no matter their normal Init value. Even if this charge fails and someone else charges them, they still have Init 1 because of their firing actions.

Basically, you need discipline to muster your troops to fire in time. And whether they quite make it or not, they are trying to shoot rather than preparing to fight, so they’ll fight last if any of the chargers make it.

Therefore:

  1. Unit A (assault) declares a charge again Unit S (shooters).
  2. S weighs their options. They decide to attempt Overwatch and are now dedicated to the results. (Just as A is now dedicated to the charge, whether it works or not.) 
  3. S makes a Leadership check. If successful, models with appropriate weapons fire at A where they stand, using normal BS and shooting rules. If they fail the Leadership check, they cannot fire. Either way, they only get one Overwatch attempt per turn.
  4. After resolving Overwatch shots, any remaining A models roll their 2D6 charge range and resolve the charge.
  5. For the remaining Combat phase, all models in S have Initiative 1, against A and any other combatants (even if they couldn’t fire their weapon).  

How’s that sound?!

I like it!

Warhammer 40K: 5th Edition

Guess what I found?!

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It’s been about two weeks now that we finally got all our stuff that was stored in California (coming from Japan) and Texas (left there in 2014). Holy poop do I have a lot of boxes! And books! And Warhammer guys! Finally see it all accumulated in one place honestly makes me feel a little ashamed of myself…

But I’ve learned that if you ever get rid of any of your Warhammer models, you later wish you hadn’t, and maybe even go so far as to buy more to replace the ones you sold! So I won’t get rid of any. But the books, I can do without some of those.

But back to the topic at hand: 5thEdition Warhammer 40K.

I miss this edition! This was the game I came back to in 2008 when I also came back to the Navy and, as a single ensign finally making a decent income, I could actually afford to buy the toys I always wanted. And, boy, did I! Way too many. I can now easily field forces of chaos marines, daemons, eldar, loyalist marines (mostly crimson fists), and space wolves, plus some allied orks, dark angels, whatever!

Flipping through this book makes me really want to go back to it. (No shit, I intend to find someone who wants to play. I probably still have all the codices too!) Some of the things I miss:

  • The Universal Special Rules only take up 3 pages of this mini-sized book, and one-half a page is a picture!
  • Vehicles don’t have hull points. Tanks and dreadnoughts take a beating like they should!
  • A power weapon cuts armor, period. No APs, just make your save or don’t.
  • Only three turns: Move, Shoot, Fight.
  • There’s offensive and defensive grenades, just general classifications. I like that. Offensive grenades allowed you to charge through cover without losing your Initiative (do they still have Initiative at all anymore?!). Defensive grenades denied assaulters the +1 attack for charging. (Okay, maybe the grenade rules weren’t the best ever… What fun are they if you can’t throw them at people and blow them up?)
  • I always liked that there were model types, like infantry, bikes, etc, that all functioned the same way for the most part. So you know the move rate, special rules, etc.
  • You can charge out of reserve and assault vehicles! 6thed, I believe, took away the main function of units like striking scorpions and genestealers by having them walk onto the board and then pause to be shot at. 5thed knew better!

Today we kind of praise 8thedition (which I still haven’t played, but would like to try it) for it being “simplified.” But 5thedition was much more simplified than anything after it. It was easy to play, uncomplicated, and a hell of a lot of fun!

Don’t get me wrong, I like some aspects of the further incarnations, but it sure seems like the adage of “If a little is good, a lot must be great!” was applied over and over again.

Now that I have my toys, I’ll (eventually) try to get me some 8thed games to try it out. But I’d go back to 5thedition in a heartbeat!

A few more of my unsolicited opinions:

FORCE ORG

I do like the new puzzle-piece 8thforce org system. You can basically take whatever you want, but there’s a logic to it, a way to fit pieces together that make it more legit. I always enjoyed that aspect of list-building: that there is some structure you must follow, minimums to meet that keep everyone on an even keel.

But those formations or whatever they were… Basically, the more money you spend the more special powers you get. That crap was unfair. Too much.

For a hybrid version of 40K, maybe you start with the original FO chart, but can purchase extra slots for points. So you can have that 4thHeavy or 3rdHQ choice, but it costs a little extra. (Personally, I think there should be a 3rdHQ slot anyway—those guys are the superheroes of the war, after all!)

OVERWATCH

I don’t think there was Overwatch in 5thed. I both like it and don’t. I think in 8thyou can fire it at EVERY unit that charges you, can’t you? That’s way too much.

I’d almost like to make Overwatch kind of like this:

You get one use per turn of it. If you don’t think the first unit charging is going to make it, hold your fire, save it for that other, closer unit that you think it coming.

Also, you need to make an Initiative test in order to pull it off. If you’re not quick enough, you don’t get your weapons up in time. The trade-off to that could be that you get to fire at your regular BS rather than only hitting on 6s.

And I can already hear Tau players hating this idea! Especially since they generally have Inits of 2. Tau could then have an army special rule like “Disciplined Firing Line” or something to that effect, that gives them a +1 to Init for Overwatch checks.

PSYKERS:

I believe in 5thpsykers can only use one power per turn too. (I don’t have the rule book in front of me right now.) I’d say that can be expanded by the psyker’s level.

I did kind of like the Warhammer Fantasy “Winds of Magic” rules that came over to 40K (was that 6thed?). A random number of dice where you have to use some resource management.

But no, I’d say psyker tests are back to Leadership tests and that they can use a number of powers equal to their level: elite or unit-based models would be level 1, HQ psykers level 2, special characters level 3. They can use that many powers per turn, once each (no repeating powers in the same turn). And they would know that number of powers as well, unless otherwise stated in their special rules (like superhero characters who know all in their discipline.)

“Deny the Witch” I think was a newer development…  We could keep that, but maybe like this: Only a psyker can attempt a Deny the Witch. The “spell” would have to either originate or target a model within 18” of the Denier for them to be in range. They would make their own Leadership test. If it beats (is lower than) the caster’s roll, they deny it. A power that went off on double 1s can’t be denied.

Psychic Hoods extend that range to 24” and give them a +1 (well, -1 really) to their Deny roll.

Okay, that’s enough nostalgia and day dreaming for me for now. Just know that discovering that little lost rule book deep inside a box stored away for 4 years really brought me back.

And speaking of bringing back, BRING BACK 5THEDITION!

Or, as I tell my friend Josh all the time, you can play any damn version you want if you and your buds agree on doing so. So, who wants to play some 5th…?