Sunday, September 10, 2017

Post #20, and what a post it is!

It seems that I have managed to prove I am a decent painter after all (and yes, I wasn't sure I didn't paint by braille before this).

I entered some of my painted 'Mechs into competition in the  General Wargamer division of the National Capitol Model Soldier Society Show in Springfield yesterday. And, after a bit of confusion on both mine and the organizer's parts about whether or not there was a wargaming division, I wound up winning the gold medal for the category. To be fair, I was the only competitor, but like the late Hugos...they could have no awarded, so I suppose it does mean something, right?

But, the competition photos do have some of my stuff looking downright spiffy if you ask me, and it's nice to have the gold medal, right? So, yeah, I guess I am a real miniature painter now? Or maybe it's best to stick to my dayjob?

Probably the latter. But it's nice to be recognized, even if I know if Fanjoy or B1BFlyer had been there, I would have rightfully gotten my arse kicked.

It pays to be a winner, I suppose?

And here's some shots of the winning 'Mechs in question?





Not bad, eh? All photos are courtesy of the National Capitol Model Soldier Society, and are strictly of my entries only. I do encourage everyone to pay a visit to the site and see some of the other entries, some of them, like this Vietnam doorgunner, were just amazing.

All in all, this experience has me wanting to get back to painting, perhaps this is also something to take up once the wedding is over, and I have some time again. I would like that as man, I do some great work. Sometimes, it just takes someone else showing you that fact. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

More News on the Harmony Gold Lawsuit

"Only an idiot fights a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

Londo Mollari, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon 5

Yep, it seems as if Harmony Gold (hereafter referred to as HG) must have a ton of money for copyright attorneys, as they are suing someone else in a copyright infringement lawsuit. This time, they're suing Tatsunoko Productions, the guys that sold Harmony Gold the rights to the images for Macross that made Robotech possible. 

According the to the referenced article, it seems the rights to those images were not Tastunoko's to sell in the first place, but instead with another outfit, Studio Nue, and that HG's rights were distribution of the Robotech/Macross cartoons in North America. 

Court documents have been filed as of last week, and according to Sarna.net, it seems that this is more of an arbitration case, but there are no details as of yet. How this turns out, noone knows. Anything could happen at this point.

But, if I may give my three cents? It's pretty clear HG has gotten quite lawsuit happy, and is clearing the legal decks for something, the live action Robotech movie we hear so much about seems to be the leading possibility in my opinion, but it could be other projects? Whatever happens, the fact that the are willing to arbitrate rather than go before a jury suggests even HG knows that their case might be weaker, or that they are looking towards a long fight with the Piranha Games/IMR/HBS suit.

Either way, it does seem like it's pretty silly to pick two or three lawsuits at the same time. I suspect this may not play overly well with a jury, assuming the judge allows this into evidence.

So, to be continued folks.  

Friday, August 18, 2017

More news from GENCON!!!

Well, it seems that there is more news from CGL about the box sets, and what's in em. I will let the official Battletech FB group speak for itself:

You've seen the sneak peek photos from Gen Con below, now here are the details we can share so far about the two new box sets for BattleTech that are on their way in 2018.
The Beginner Box Set will include two miniatures, the Griffin and the Wolverine. The Game of Armored Combat box set will include eight miniatures: a Locust, Commando, Wolverine, Shadow Hawk, Catapult, Thunderbolt, Awesome, and BattleMaster. All minis will have entirely new sculpts!
(We're aware the Wolverine was misprinted. These are prototypes, and this is why--it will be fixed for full release. Those responsible have been invited to enjoy a stay at their local Word of Blake facility.)
The boxes are mock-ups only, and the details shown on them are *not* final. The contents list on the back of the box remains in development; as a result, the price point of each box has not been finalized.
The maps shown in the photos are likewise not final, and will receive further development. The rules presented are based on those in the recently-released BattleMech Manual in both form and function.
At the moment, the best release date we can offer is 2018--that's broad, but there's a lot of work going into these products, and we hope to share more of it soon!

Ok, so at least my wallet can take a breather for the rest of 2017!

The components at this stage look great, especially the 'Mechs. I so want to see these for sale in separate box sets like the current box sets. I think they would sell very well, perhaps with some Alpha Strike Cards???

Wide angle shot of Battletech Box Set, taken from Battletech Facebook site.


Thunderbolt and Batltemaster, taken from Battletech Facebook site

Locust, taken from Battletech Facebook site

Shadow Hawk and Griffin, taken from Battletech Facebook site

I like the looks of all the Newseen as they are being called. They are beefier than the Reseen, they have some "heft" to them, and they look like they move like the walking tanks they are. The Reseen looked a lot like scarecrows to me, and honestly, lost something in the translation (now the Clan IICs had that heft I was talking about, to be fair). But these models? Oh yeah, Papa likee.

While we are only getting 8 in a box, they are going to be a nice addition to anyone's collection of minis. Like I said, I really hope we get some lance sets for the miniatures as well as the box set. It's also nice to see the beginner set as well, we have needed an "intro" set for Battletech for some time, and the responses to my commentaries have often borne that out.

All in all, 2018 looks like it will be a good year for Battletech, now if we can just get the PTB to give us something more for Alpha Strike? I would be a happy, happy man. 

UPDATE: We have some news on the Combat Manuals among other things from the "What's Up With CGL" panel at GenCon, we also have a Youtube video!


Watch and enjoy folks!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

GENCON, What's coming down the pipe!

 There is a lot of releases coming to the fore for Classic Battletech coming as a part of Gen Con, and we are going to take a look at all of them.

  First, there's the release of the books mentioned in a previous blog post, the books are out in hardcopy, at least on a limited basis.

  Here are some images of the actual books:


Taken from bg.battletech.com

Taken from bg.battletech.com

Taken from bg.battletech.com

 The Legacy anthology looks interesting, and the description sounds quite compelling, to say the least. I am a bit excited by the idea, and I will probably pick it up as a PDF or a Kindle book when I get the chance.

  As for miniatures, there is quite a bit being released by Iron Wind Metals. Here are some pictures for everyone to have a look at:

 
New Anubis Sculpt, taken from IWM website

Avalanche Sculpt, taken from IWM website

New Cuirass sculpt, taken from IWM website.

New Uziel sculpt, taken from IWM website.
I am pleased to see the new sculpt quality, and the Uziel looks particularly good, but a lot of the sculpts, naturally, are more for 3250 era games, which I must confess, isn't much for me. But hey, different strokes for different folks.

But the big news is this:

Taken from bg.battletech.com
I am pretty excited about this news most of all, as there is not going to just be a new box set, but a new introductory box set. Both will come with miniatures, but word is that both will have less than previous box sets. One can hope this will lead to more plastic box sets as well, as these have been a boon to miniature players.

There hasn't been much in the way of news for anything specific to Alpha Strike, but one hopes CGL has some surprises for us.

Anyhow, that's it for now, but we'll stay tuned as the trickle of news comes from Gen Con.

Monday, July 24, 2017

News and Commentary

There has been a lot, and I mean a lot of news for Classic Battletech in the last 72 hours, I was waiting for all of it to shake out a little before I posted this, but then Sunday's bombshell required I get to a computer and write.

So, first the good news. 2nd Succession War is out in PDF! The word is that limited copies will hit the street for Gencon, but hey, I can wait...that is assuming the other news I will talk about in a bit doesn't screw everything up.

I have been waiting for this for a while. I like fluff, fluff gives me ideas to write about, to write scenarios for, and to inspire painted units. I can take a throw away sentence or two in a given sourcebook and turn it into a 12 turn scenario, and I have done it many, many times.

Naturally, I already have a copy, (author's credits for Red Star, White Lights have been doing well of late) and on first blush, I liked what I saw. I cannot wait for the dead tree version, but it looks as if we are going to have another quality product on our hands to reenact some great CBT history.

The *meh* is the PDF releases of the Battletech Manual and the Technical Readout: Succession Wars. This is not to knock the effort that went into the former product, which was a lot, but honestly? This was a product that should have been released a long, long time ago in my opinion. The fact that it was not, seems a bit of a silly decision. Battletech, for all of the talk about combined arms (and such an idea is important, make no mistake) is primarily about the 'Mechs. It's why people play. It's what attracted me to the game in the 1980s. So, yeah, a 'Mech oriented rule book should have been one of the first projects to hit the street in the 2000s back when they were doing the Total Warfare series.

As for the latter product. It's the TRO version of a clip show. I hate clip shows. Yes, I know, it's got the reseen artwork. Cool. But I am not going to plunk down money for a product that I already have most, if not all the information for. If this is different, please let me know, as I am a person who is not above eating humble pie when required.

Now, the ugly. As we all know, Harmony Gold, the creators of Robotech (which is partly responsible for me *being* a Battletech player) alleges that the images created for the upcoming computer game by Harebrained Schemes and the images being used by Piranha Games for Mechwarrior Online are a threats to the Robotech copyright as those images resemble images in Robotech, or at least that's what their recently filed legal action says. They also named In Media Res Productions, the parent company of Catalyst Games Labs in the suit.

Now, I am not a legal scholar. but, my understanding is that if an image differs more than 15% from the original, than it is not an infringement on said copyright. Now, Harmony Gold has been kind enough to show their images, versus the images of the reseen and how they allege the similarities are actionable. Personally, I do not see it, but, hey, I will let you the reader decide. And if there are any IP experts or legal scholars out there, I welcome their comments on the case, and would love for them to set us straight.

Ok, let's take a look at the video tape, so to speak:

Found here is the comparison taken from the legal filings of the Warhammer and Archer (left) and the Destroid Spartan and Destroid Tomahawk (right). Image taken from Case 2:17-cv-00327

Found here is the comparison taken from the legal filings of the Atlas and Shadow Hawk (left) and the Armored Valkyrie and Destroid Spartan (right), note lack of captioning on the left. Image taken from Case 2:17-cv-00327

Found here is the comparison taken from the legal filings of the Marauder (left) and the Officer's Pod Glaug (right), again, note lack of captioning on the left. Image taken from  Case 2:17-cv-00327

Found here is the comparison taken from the legal filings of the Marauder/Marauder IIC and Phoenix Hawk (left) and the Officer's Pod Glaug and Super Valkyrie on the right. Image taken from  Case 2:17-cv-00327

Found here is the comparison taken from the legal filings of the Rifleman (left) and the Destroid Defender (right). Image taken from  Case 2:17-cv-00327


I am not at all convinced that Harmony Gold has much of a leg to stand on. The Atlas has similarities to the Armored Valkyrie? You have got to be kidding. I'd get it if they were up in arms if the Crusader was being reissued, which I have not seen a reseen for it yet. Could be wrong, and the Shadow Hawk? Who in their right mind says it looks like a Spartan? Sorry, but this smells to high heaven to me. And I might have good reason to think so, as Sony Pictures has announced they are going forward with a Robotech movie.

Now, that said, the suit was filed in March of this year, and the directorial announcement was made last week..but one might think all sorts of uncharitable things about Harmony Gold and seeking to destroy any potential competitors to any marketing of oh, say, toys and games ahead of a movie release? No, we wouldn't think that, would we?

Lets ignore the fact that Harmony Gold has done little with the IP in the last ten years. Yes, they released Shadow Chronicles (poorly received), and Love, Live, Alive (which was little more than a clip show!). Not to mention the remasters of the original episodes which while the sound and picture clarity was good, some of the questionable fan service was not (endless scenes of Dana showering in the Robotech Masters series, for example).

I won't even bring up the fiasco of the Robotech Miniatures Game and how kickstarter participants STILL have not gotten all they paid for. In fact, things got so bad there, one of the designers was almost driven to suicide. Where was Harmony Gold there? Filing dubious lawsuits it seems.

In short, this smacks of what is called "IP trolling" and while legally. Harmony Gold might be in the right, they are alienating a lot of fans...and those fans aren't probably going to take this lying down. I have already heard rumors of letter writing campaigns and defense funds. I would not be surprised if both go forward.

I will let you, dear reader, decide what you think of it all, but I am pretty convinced this is little more than "lawfare" and I hope it doesn't bleed dry some really good attempts to bring the game back from the brink. But, considering the nature of what the players are, I will quote Han Solo, "I have a bad feeling about this."

Monday, July 17, 2017

Part 3 of My Awesome Historicon Adventure

As mentioned in Part 2, there was a lot to see and do at Historicon. Of interest to Classic Battletech heads, there was the usual Grinder and Grand Melee events, as well as some other games in the program I didn't see and there was quite a few items for sale in the Iron Winds booth (Now run by the guys from B&V Traders!) I spoke to the guys at some length and picked up some things from them namely a nicely painted Huron Warrior and an unpainted Pheonix Hawk LAM....and some decals. Now if I could just get a 2nd Sword of Light Sheet, as I now have the Kentares flags...

I did see a lot of painted CBT for sale also at the Stan Johansen booth, and in the flea market, but I didn't think their prices were as competitive as B & V Traders, and of interest, and I almost forgot, I picked up a pair of laser levels from Army Painter, and Dwin Craig thoughtfully got me a ziploc bag FILLED with D12s. No more worrying about enough D12s for Alpha Strike!

This blog always seems to have the short end of the convention reports, and that is a shame, I will endeavor to have more to report here.

But, I want to take the time to give a shout out to a lot of folks. First, Mike Byrne. Thank you for the ride, the company, and a little insight into life in the artillery. Very insightful stuff indeed, and when you're stuck in traffic for two hours...

I want to thank Mike Pierce, Mike Demana, Miles (I wish I remembered your last name), Dennis Wang, Pete Panzeri, and anyone else I have not mentioned for running games at Historicon 2017. Without you, there is no con, and thanks for giving me and my fiancé a weekend of fun!

I want to thank my fiance, Anne. She puts up with me, my hobby, and more importantly, my eccentric friends. We're getting married in October, and again, she makes me proud she chose me. I just hope she feels the same way.

Some parting comments about the con, I again found the venue to be well lit, clean, and easy to get around. There were plenty of games, and most of them were well-attended, as this photo attests from Friday:



I am of two minds on the move to the Host next year, on the one hand, perhaps it's what we need to do to deal with the falling numbers, on the other hand? This venue, except for the noise issues, a darn sight better than the Host. I have my opinions...I am sure you have yours.

So, that's it for Historicon for this year...on to FALL IN!!!



Monday, July 10, 2017

My Birthday Game - Or, Alpha Strike, To the Bitter End!

Well, my birthday game has come and gone, and it was quite the game. I ran a small event for four people and had a blast doing it...literally. There was carnage to be had, and a friend got to run some 'Mechs for the first time ever (he'd bought them on eBay years ago, and they just hadn't had a chance to come out and play).

Not to mention, the Geo-Hex came out to play too! It was nine kinds of gaming awesome last Saturday! And Dwin brought his base...which has figured in more than a few of our games...and it's always seemed to become a focal point of any fighting.

So, with myself, Dwin, Glen, and Dave (Glen and Dave both being beginners) we set out to run Alpha Strike

So, the scenario was simple, capture the base by Turn 12 (Yeah, we lost track of what turn it was rather quickly), didn't matter, neither the Lyrans, painted by yours truly, backed up by some of my Robinson Rangers, nor Dwin's Kuritans were backing off.

A few notes, we do some house rules for our games:


  • We use D12, we find it's a flatter probability curve, and it makes for a faster game, and we have one die per each point of damage dealt out by the unit. In other words, if your unit does 2 points of damage at medium range, then you roll 2 D12 to hit.
  • We also have morale rolls for a unit having suffered internal damage. If a unit manages to survive to the end of the turn, then said unit rolls a D6 against it's skill, if it rolls higher than it's skill rating, the unit sticks around, if not, it must withdraw off of it's home board edge.

All pretty simple enough, and thus, on to the game!

The faster Combine units got into the base first, and I had decided on a three pronged advance...poor Dave marched his first set of units right into the guns of Glen's assault lance...this did not end well for Dave's Axeman, who promptly died under the Kuritan guns right away. After that, his Warhammer got chewed up and he made for cover as fast as he could.

My Assault lance was next, losing a Banshee within two turns, and a Battlemaster not long after that, but the Hauptmann hung in there for long enough to reach the base. I then had my scout lance try to distract the balance of the Combine lights..which did something..as we killed a Black Hawk-KU and shot the hell out of a Pheonix Hawk (who would later die under the guns of an Atlas). 

The fighting soon devolved around the base, and soon 'Mechs on both sides began to fall left and right, but the last Robinson Rangers Zeus failed it's morale roll, and withdrew, leaving the two surviving 'Mechs of the Combine force (out of 12) to "celebrate" their victory..not that it was probably much to celebrate.

I want to thank everyone for coming, and for my fiance Anne, who put out quite the spread for us, it was amazing and yes, Dwin, more cover for everyone next time!

As for the Geo-Hex, which is back and in it's first game? I think it did well, it's a bit fragile at times, but most of the damage incurred is nothing a little white glue, flock, and paint won't fix. I did see a lot of loose flock in the box, and I suspect I will have to send away to the manufacturer for more rescue flock at some point...no biggie.

The last of the Lyrans and the Combine duke it out for the base, by the end, only the Highlander and the Black Hawk-KU, along with the Zeus will survive.


A closeup of the fighting around the base.

The Warhammer, who probably had no business surviving as long as it did.

Another shot of the fighting around the base, with the remains of the Banshee and the Battlemaster burning in the background.

The Black Hawk-KU meets its end at the hands of the Wasp, who proved to be quite the survivor, until it died taking on the Highlander
Death of the Phoenix Hawk, as the Atlas pours fire into it



First blood for the Lyrans, as the Lynx from their Assault Lance dies under the guns of two FedCom lances. The Hatamoto-Suna is playing a light 'Mech, the Kubo or something like that..memory does not serve to remember the exact name,

The remains of the Lyran Assault lance breach the base.

KABOOM! There goes the Banshee!



Elements of the Lyran Scout Lance advance into the woods on the FedCom right

The rogue's gallery of Kuritan light 'Mechs, Only one, the red Black Hawk-KU, would survive to the game's end


Two of the Lyran lances (The Assault and Scout Lances) advance on Turn 1