Saturday, 26 October 2013

Sleeping at work.

Luk came to work the other day having had to have a haircut. He wasn't very pleased with the result -- especially all the people who gathered around saying "What happened???" so in the end he refused to do any work and went to sleep curled up around Cuddly Badger.

All together now... Ahhhhhh!!!!....

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Spiffy Tokens for Flintloque 3

We're switching to using FL3 largely to avoid the faff of written orders. However, instead of orders it needs a lot more tokens -- especially if you're planning to have no scribbling or notes at all.

I though this would work much better with some proper tokens (rather than photocopied things stuck to cardboard). When I found a UK supplier for the 15mm round wooden disks which are used as game pieces in 'German' style boardgames a solution was becoming obvious...

They sell them individually in various colours or big bags of 50 each of 6 colours. The colours will help distinguish the tokens;
  • red - wounds.
  • yellow - status markers.
  • green - turn-long markers and Command Points.
  • blue - activation.
  • black - dead.
  • grey - objectives and shaken.
I was also going to use blue for hit tokens (the idea being that all blue tokens go at the end of a turn) but actually that was a bad idea because it's hard work telling hits from activations. I'm re-doing the hit markers in pink (because they become red wounds later..)

I also ordered white for some of the undead specific markers; sooner or later there are going to be Zombies...

So the next part of the problem was how to make the actual token parts. Laser-printable sticker sheets are the answer here; they're like address label sheets but don't have any scoring on them. You just print where-ever you want.

I didn't really fancy cutting out that many circles -- for a two-section game you need 20 Activations, probably 20-25 "Wound", a bunch of "Dead" markers, maybe a dozen "Unloaded" and so on. It adds up quite quickly -- and I want to be doing big games of 3 or 4 sections a side (otherwise where would the chaos come from?)

Fortunately, I found on Ebay a place selling various scrap-booking punches -- including a half-inch circle. Punching out the circles from sticker sheets is easy -- you turn the punch upside down and then you can line the hole-punch up and click it through.

(I'd like to emphasise I did not pick a pink one. They just come in pink. Apparently these things come in different colours depending on the size of the hole.)

The sticker sheets can be a little fragile, so in practice I tend to put a couple of sheets of scrap paper behind them.

The tokens themselves then needed designs. Fortunately, since I'm a software engineer, firing up a text editor (GNU Emacs) and writing a bunch of PostScript solved that problem.. the PS converts easily into a PDF which can then be printed. Pixel artwork is a bit of a pain in raw PS; and even drawing stuff is fiddly and time consuming. Fortunately, we're talking about half-inch diameter circles; there's not a lot of room for extra stuff. So actually it worked out that I could get most of the way there by using a decorative font and using the text of the token itself as the artwork.

The PDF files containing the tokens is free for downloading if you fancy using it; it could also be used to create tokens by either gluing printed sheets or printed stickers to sheets of thin foam (available in hobby stores in loads of colours). Or just use cardboard, but you miss having the colours then.

It's actually taken me a while and a couple of iterations to work out what tokens are needed; I can't, for instance, see why one needs "Misfire" -- that's just an "Unloaded". Or "Critical Hit"; you turn a critical hit into a bunch of "Hit" tokens and those are the ones you need. Nor can I really see what the "Double Length" initiatives are for...

(If I'm wrong on this, please let me know!)

So after those, and then adding some extras -- objective markers, fire, blown up and, of course, "Gold!" that fills a sheet. I've started on a second set of markers for various skills which need their status recording and undead markers. And the "over the hills and far away.." is, of course, the marker for a musician who's playing this turn... :-)

And how spiffy have these turned out then...?

More Flintloque Painting

Over the last few weeks I've been painting my way through the figures I stripped from their original painting and assembling them into usable small groups. There were also a bunch of figures still in various blister packs -- I bought a job lot of them from somewhere in the 90s and they're something of a random selection . I recently picked up another similar batch, which included several limited-edition figures which are no longer available. Sadly a couple of them have been damaged by years in storage but the repairs aren't beyond me.

While ordering a rulebook from AA I rounded out the remaining units with small packs, so they're currently in the assemble/undercoat pipeline.

Onto the painting output; These groups were originally 200pt groups for FL 2 but it seems 300 is roughly equivalent for FL 3, so I've redone the organisations a bit, helped by a Python script which compiles unit description files into a PostScript printout which then turns into a PDF and which is then overlayed onto the FL3 unit roster, so we get neatly filled in sheets and I don't have to add up all the points values by hand.

French Elf Grenadiers

The grenadiers are made up of an Elf from the Slaughterloo officer pack, several regular line figures with their pompoms removed and the Elf figures from Sharke's Victory. Interestingly, I ended up with two of one of those characters. In order to make them less obviously duplicates in this unit, I gave one of them extra baggage in the form of some packs out of my spares box and a lute -- no idea where this came from, but it just fits nicely into the character of these figures.

The grenadiers round out my Elf 'regiment' of two line sections, one grenadier and one voltigeur.

French Elf Lancers.

These are just two blister packs. At 233pts, they're a little understrength; even with swords as a secondary weapon (to avoid the -2 melee penalty after the first fighting round). At some point I'll add a Captain and they'll be a nice unit.

Orc Dragoons.

These are another two blister packs. They're the survivors of a Dragoon unit which was hit by artillery fire -- that's why there's three on foot and only two mounted. A mix of veteran and experience with pistols, carbines and swords, they're 292pts.

Orc Officers on Foot.

The foot officer in a pelisse is from a blister pack of officers, and the Duke and O'Toole are from Sharke's Victory.

Mounted Orc Officers.

The unnamed officer and Hogan are from blister packs and the mounted version of Wheeling Turn is from my copy of Slaughterloo.