Sunday, June 28, 2015

Robotech and VOTOM Reinforcements Inbound?

Just a quick update.  Over the past week, when not tweaking the Vermilion Squadron skirmish rules, I restarted work on my 28mm VOTOM project due to a resurgence in interest on my part in the N3 Infinity rules that would allow me to use them in a game.  Previously, I had tested out some various paint schemes to no good effect.  I couldn't base coat the PVC plastic as it got sticky, painting with acyrlic directly onto the model looked odd and chipped off with storage, and just applying a wash then flat coat wasn't pretty either.  I stripped the two full votoms that I was working on and tried a new method.  The Testors flat varnish dries well on the plastic and seems to prevent the stickyness of the primer/base coat applied second.  I'll hopefully be posting some pics later this week of my guinea pig VOTOM as I need to buy some more supplies first (ran out of the flat varnish).

I also went to a not-so-local but very friendly game store flea market this weekend and picked up a nice Robotech minis force at a very good price (and best of all paid for almost completely with the store credit for what I myself sold!).  There are enough decent tabletop quality painted minis for both factions to run a 300pt game plus a few extra to spare.  Since I'm more interested in the "skirmish" side of the game, that is definitely more than enough minis for my needs!  In testing out my rules, I was basically solo'ing games using labelled bases but I'll now have some painted minis to use instead.  I'll still keep likely a squad of each type for both sides and likely sell or trade the rest.  And I didn't even have to assemble a 24 piece 1" tall destroid!  Woohoo!  :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vermilion Feedback and Sample Forces

It's been a few days which is probably enough for the relatively small amount of changes in my Vermilion Squadron skirmish house rules to sink in for any readers.  I've gotten two questions and wanted to respond to the feedback.  The first was from a reader on dakka who asked why I opted to go with model within a squadron activation instead of allowing any model to be activated in any order.  My answer was threefold: backward compatibility, close formation, and ease of tracking.  I found with my Heavy Gear Blitz house rules (the FLASH! link to the right) that if you change more than just a token amount that folks who are familiar with the system simply won't try it.  It's unofficial so not worth the effort if it involves relearning what they're used to as opposed to just tweaking it a little.  By keeping the model activation "nested" within the squadron first (you must resolve all activations within a squadron before moving to the next model in the next squadron), players have some familiarity from the main game but still get the utility of activating individual models.  This is admittedly a very soft reason and I admit that keeping the squadron limitation was actually a late addition to the house rules.

edit:  In the meantime, I have tweaked the rules above in response to feedback and another trial (but only solo) game so the activation rules are no longer as described above.

The other two reasons are in reality equally soft.  It really isn't hard to remember which models have activated but it is a bit easier if you do it by squadron (I moved a valkyrie last turn so I'll have to move another this turn).  In order to utilize the close formation rule, you pretty much have to activate by squadron as the models all fire simulataneously when using the rule.  With my new reserve fire rule, you could theoretically get around that restriction but I wanted to minimize the counters on the tabletop since the main game doesn't use them.

The second bit of feedback was much broader in the form of a question about why the skirmish rules need to exist at all with the introductory scenario rules in the book.  The introductory scenarios are very rigid without any structure to expanding beyond what is written.  In the first scenario, one side gets 2x VF-1A (40pts) versus 6x Regults (35pts).  There is no room for tweaking with the rules as written and the forces aren't even technically equal.  They're perfectly adequate for learning the rules which is their primary purpose but not for playing a fuller game at a smaller points total.  You could always just say "take whatever you want for the same points total" instead of using my Vermilion rules and that would be perfectly acceptable.  I'd like to think that my house rules offer (in 40k terms) a "kill team" set of organized rules as opposed to just playing unbound at 200pts instead (which is what that alternate "take whatever" option would be akin to).

For instance, in the above scenario, a pair of players who picked up a copy of the rulebook at gencon for $10 as well as the two model packs above could either play:

2xVF-1A (40pts) + Long Range missiles (10pts) versus 6x Regults (35pts) + Veteran Warriors (10pts) + Grel (5pts)

Instead of just the two vanilla unequal forces in the intro scenario.  My goal was to come up with some skirmish scale rules that would allow folks to pretty much pick up almost any box and be able to play a customizable full feeling game with it versus another.  The only exception to this would be if someone bought only a "special" card only box like a Glaug Eldare or Mac II Monster box as specials need to be attached to a support card still due to their intended rarity in game.  Another sample force straight from the anime unplayable in the main game:

Sweet Sixteen Attack

Vermilion Squadron (2x VF-1A 40pts, 1x VF-1J 25pts, Ben 5pts, Max 10pts, Rick 10pts) 90pts
Botoru Squadron  (6x Regult 35pts, 1x Glaug 20pts, 2x Light Artillery Pods 25pts, Khyron 10pts) 90pts

You could expand the above forces with the models that come in their boxes to add in a VF-1S with Roy Fokker for the UEDF and add a second squadron of another 2 artillery pods plus recon and recovery pods (along with veteran warriors) to bump up the skirmish game to the max 150pts.  

Which brings me to the final point for this post which is why I set up a limit of 150pts.  The first and foremost is that I intended these house rules to be at a specifically different model count than the normal game that starts at 300pts.  At 150pts, you could still spam two dozen units on the zentraedi side using stock regults or infantry which is already stretching the goal of a "skirmish" game to the limits.  Using the custom RPG character conversion rules, I could easily see the more expensive RPG character models going right up to the minimum 300pt main game limit without increasing the model count.  That could be useful for players who want to enact combat scenarios from their RPG campaign with a bit less lethality than the normal game would have.

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to leave feedback in the comments.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Combat Changes


Unless specifically noted as changed below, use the rules as written in the Robotech RPG Tactics rulebook.  All house rules presented below are 100% unofficial fan creations and not endorsed by anyone except maybe me.  :)

Line of Sight (pg. 11-12):  Replace references to the "center" of the torso with "any part" of the torso (or hull for non-humanoid models).


STEP 1: The Activation Step (pg. 14):  Choose a single model in your army and activate that model.  Complete the action phase steps with that model (movement, combat, resolution) before passing the activation to your opponent who activates a single model as well or passes the activation.  When determining if a player can pass a model's activation, count the individual remaining models on the table instead of squadrons to determine if which player is outnumbered.

     Stealing the Activation (pg. 14): If you have a model with the Leadership ability, roll a number of dice equal to the highest Leadership value in your force currently deployed on the table when attempting to steal or to prevent the stealing of the Activation instead of 3d6.


Attempt to Dodge (pg. 16): If you are hit by multiple simultaneous attacks like a missile volley or reserved attacks from a close formation (see below), you may attempt to dodge by rolling 1d6 for EACH missile or individual reserved attack instead of rolling one die for all of them.  You MAY dodge missile attacks of any volley size.  For instance, if you are hit by a volley of 6 missiles, spend a single command point to attempt to dodge and roll 6 dice using the normal rules to resolve the attack.

Close Formation (pg. 18): Because of the changes to activation above, it is now much more difficult to gain the close formation bonus.  To make up for this, you may declare after moving a model that you are reserving its ranged attack instead of firing.  Place some sort of marker next to that model.  Any models from that same squadron that subsequently ends their movement in close formation range (2") with reserved fire model or close formation must EITHER reserve their attack also OR the player must simultaneously fire with all the reserved models in that close formation including the just moved model.  If the original model with the reserved fire marker is destroyed prior to firing, simply move the marker to another model in that same close formation; if none are present, remove the marker.  Any unused reserved fire markers should be removed from the table in the next command phase.

Anti-Missile (pg. 27):  Roll 1d6 per incoming missile in a volley to see how many you shoot down instead of a single die.  For example, if you are hit by a volley of 6 missiles, you roll 6 dice to see how many individual missiles you shoot down before moving on to the next step.  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Army Creation and Scenarios

Part 2: Army Creation and Scenarios

Unless specifically noted as changed below, use the rules as written in the Robotech RPG Tactics rulebook.  All house rules presented below are 100% unofficial fan creations and not endorsed by anyone except maybe me.  :)


Ignore this section when using the Vermilion Squadron skirmish rules.  While these scenarios may be helpful for learning the core rules, the skirmish rules presented here are intended to provide a more varied experience for smaller games.


Factions: Please note that the "Life is Cheap" rule is still in effect in these skirmish house rules unlike in the official introductory scenarios.

Force Cards:  Vermilion Squadron does NOT use Core cards.  Ignore any references to them in the rules and replace "core card" with "primary support card" instead.

Support Cards: Choose one support card to create each squadron; this card is referred to as the primary support card.  Subsequent support cards may either be used as primary cards to start their own squadron OR used as a secondary support card to add to an existing squadron.  You may only add a single support card of the same type to each primary support card.  For example, you could designate a Spartan Destroid support card as a primary thereby making a squadron and then add a Phalanx Destroid Support card as a secondary to the squadron (but not a valkyrie support option as it is a different type).  Please note the additional minimum and maximum model and card count restrictions for game size listed below .  Additionally, due to the smaller format of the Vermilion Squadron rules, you shoud add the option of a support card to the UEDF faction support card list that allows the taking of a single VF-1J for 25pts.  The VF-1J has the same stats as the normal version included in a full size Veritech Squadron core card.

Special Cards:  You may choose a SINGLE special card to add to one squadron in your army.  This special card may be a RPG Character conversion if you and your opponent both agree to their use.  You may use the official special characters as normal as they do not count toward that limit unless used on a special card mecha per the normal rules.

Minimum and Maximum Requirements:  You must field a minimum of one support card per 50pts up to a maximum of two support cards per 50pts of your army (up to 150pts).  Additionally, there is a minimum of 2 models in the army to a maximum of 24 for skirmish games. 

DEMOLITION: Additional Rules: Always use the 25 MDC per card Bunker value for Vermilion Squadron skirmish games.

      Forces: The defender gets a single squadron of 1 Convoy Vehicle per 50pts or fraction thereof.  For example, a 100pt game would have a single squadron of two convoy vehicles.
      Additional Rules: Convoy Vehicle MDC: 4


BATTLE GROUPS: Ignore this entry as it is intended for much larger games.

SKIRMISH GAMES: The Vermilion Squadron rules presented here on this blog replace this entry.

STRATEGIC DEPLOYMENT: You may only use this rule if you have more than 4 models per 50pts of your army as well as at least two squadrons.  If you do not meet both of those criteria, you may not use this rule or any that depend on it (such as airborne assault).  Instead deploy all your models on the table as outlined on the chosen individual mission's deployment subheading.

Max, Rick, and Ben... ATTACK!


Part 1: Introduction (below)

Part 1: Introduction

After discussing Robotech a bit more on various online forums, my interest in assembling some of the models that I received with my Kickstarter Wave 1 shipment was rekindled.  While planning out how I would build my models, my old ideas about expanding on the skirmish scale rules for Palladium's new Robotech RPG Tactics game were reignited as well.  For the TL;DR version, check out the paragraph below :)  If I'm feeling particularly verbose, I write the important part of house rule blog entries in italics prefaced by bold titles and the rest of the rather long paragraphs in the blog articles are the reasons for the rules that I came up with.  For example:

TL;DR: My goal with this house rule project is to come up with a set of variant house rules that provide a relatively complete and more granular gameplay experience at point values of 50-150pts (two to 24 models) building upon Palladium's Robotech RPG Tactics (RRPGT) rules.  I want brand new players to get a proper feel for the full game after buying any retail box of RRPGT models and for existing players (both tabletop and RPG) who have yet to complete modelling their full collections to get a more detailed game yet finish in a reasonable time (<1 hour) using what they have already built.

Initially, my interest in making the skirmish rules was two fold.  The first is that I could not via the normal rules ever play the iconic Vermilion Squadron (Rick, Max, and Ben) from the TV show and I found that to be both odd and unacceptable.  The second is that I backed the kickstarter at the "sweet spot" pledge level and would therefore have trouble fielding a full army of 300pts or more without using all of my figs, leading to little variety at the normal level of play for we with my anticipated wave 1 shipment.   Once I got the core box and read the rules, I was moderately disappointed that the previously advertised skirmish rules had apparently been left on the cutting room floor sometime over the past year and replaced with very simple introductory scenarios with premade forces instead.  While those scenarios accomplish their goal of introducing new players to the full rules and army sizes of the standard 300pt and up games, they leave alot to be desired for smaller "skirmish" level games.

With my Heavy Gear Flash! skirmish house rules (link on the right), I was attempting to "fix" the issue of Dream Pod 9 trying to force a square peg (detailed RPG derived rules) into a round hole (mass battle game) in order to get games that flowed well and were finished in a reasonable time with a reasonable model count.  With Robotoch RPG Tactics, that isn't an issue.  The rules are both streamlined and easy to learn and work well (with some notable exceptions) with the mass battle game that they're to be used for.  Instead, I'm the one trying to force the square peg (streamlined mass battle rules) into the round hole (more detailed skirmish rules)!  For instance, there are lots of all or nothing tests/rolls in the full game like dodging (you either dodge all the incoming missiles or none of them with your single roll) that I intend to "complicate" by making the results more nuanced instead of binary.  These types of changes would NOT be appropriate in full sized games as they'd slow down the action too much but I believe they will improve the feel of games at the models counts that I intend them to be used with.

I plan to post one main section of the Vermilion Squadron house rules (starting with the above Introduction) each day for the next three days.  If anyone is interested in trying them, feel free to post feedback from any games or thoughts from reading in the comment sections below posts.  In the meantime, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Upcoming Unofficial Robotech RPG Tactics Skirmish House Rules and Tau Update

Just a quick update on my Riptide as well as a few ideas on what is to come for the blog.  I've had no luck getting the shoulder bits that I need for my Tau Riptide/Y'Vahra conversion but I have at least tested the plastic and primed the model.  I was initially afraid that the plastic wouldn't react well to the spray primer/base coat like with my Heavy Gear Votom Gashapon models but luckily that wasn't the case either with the test pieces nor the actual model.  I'm still planning on getting back to it as soon as I get the parts that I (hopefully if they fit!) need.  I'm a bit hesitant to fully start painting it though so I've moved onto other things on my waiting list.

I've had a bit of a resurgence of interest in my Robotech RPG Tactics models (or RRPGT or Tactics for short!) and have been planning out how to assemble them.  I downloaded the much improved construction guides that Palladium put out on drivethrurpg and they're a big help.  With only a single Battlecry pledge to my name, I don't have the luxury of experimenting too much with the models via conversions but I do plan on assembling a veritech squadron and some battlepods to fight it out on my cityscape terrain.  The rules as written are very streamlined and fast being meant for larger scale battles than my planned collection will be able to do justice.  After I get wave 2, I'll likely only have aobut 450pts per side with the minimum the rules recommend being 300pts for a standard game.  Without wave 2 (my current situation), I have to depend on special characters to get to the minimum game size of 300pts.

There was supposed to be a set of full skirmish rules in the game but they apparently ended up on the cutting room floor and were replaced with a page of introductory scenarios instead for new players.  My idea is to create my own skirmish rules like I did with the Heavy Gear Flash! set that I started this blog with.  Unlike with HG, the Robotech rules (with some caveats) do generally work with the scale of battle that they were developed for so my goal is to expand on them within the existing framework to work better at a model count smaller than intended.  I hope to have the update post for these houserules that details the both the goals and changes more concretely ready by the end of the week.  As stated earlier, I'm not rewriting large portions of the rules so I hopefully will be able to detail the house rules in just a couple of posts.  I encourage folks to leave comments on the future posts as I do plan on editing the house rules depending on how the reception is.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

And now for the bigger mech!

I've been working on my Riptide Y'Vahra conversion for a few evenings and this is what I've come up with so far.

I had to create the head from scratch using left over and broken star wars, transformers, and 40k Imperial/Tau/Chaos bits to give it a bit more heft compared to the original.  It's a bit too big IMO but I still prefer it to the Thrud the Barbarian tiny head the original model came with.  The arm was similarly created and I'm happy with the final effect there.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to successfully magnetize it to allow fast switching of the normal riptide arm with the Y'Vahra variant weapon.  I figured I'd probably be playing the "normal" riptide more often and wanted the suit to look like a bigger upsized version of the smaller one so opted to glue that arm on.

One thing I'm definitely not happy about is my scratch built shoulder pad.  It just seems both too busy there as well as out of place.  I've since taken it off and repositioned it both higher up on the shoulder as well as reversed (so the short face/angle is pointing toward the elbow instead) and it does look better but I'm still not happy with the result.  I'll be trying to pick up some armor bits on ebay to test out a few other looks but for now both the shoulders are bare.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Farsight and Friends

I now have a legal Farsight ally force painted up!  I decided not to go too crazy with the decals (at the cost of about a half dozen or so that I applied and then took off) and just used the FOW decals as the colored ones made the model too busy.  I went with the white stars on the shoulder, chest, and back (in descending size order) as well as a few spots of text including some pilot nicknames on the forearms of each suit.  Additionally, I put a flag on the left shoulder to go with the theme.  I tried out designation numbers on the left chest for all as well as the white stars on a red bar for Farsight but they just seemed out of place.  Without further talk about stickers on my soldiers, here's the pic:

The next step for the force is to add in another (big) fig that I got in trade a little while back... a Y'Vahra!  

My plan is to convert it to be usable as both a Y'vahra as well as a normal riptide for when opponents aren't keen on using forgeworld rules (especially trial ones like the Y'Vahra currently has).  I'll have to make another left arm as I plan on using the right one for the normal riptide ion accelerator.,  I'll also probably try to convert the head into something a bit more proportional to the model.  The FW variant doesn't have as bad of a tiny head issue as the normal riptide but it still looks off IMO.  I'll hopefully start construction of the models today so might have an update on the next addition sometime late this week.