Film: Riddick – Rule the Dark

I finally got this at the w/e and watched it, it’s the third installment in the Riddick franchse. I watched Pitch Black and thoroughly enjoyed it. the second film, The Chronicles of Riddick was less enjoyable. It was packed with great ideas, but was really two films/concepts boiled down into one and both stories ultimately lost some of their potency.


This film was an indepoendent release and returns to the Pitch Black approach, a bit too closely, but is saved from a straight retread for a couple of reasons.

Riddick’ tiring of the Necromungers that he ended up leading at the end of Chronicles. So he cuts a deal with Vaako (Karl Urban’s character), but Vaako’s sidekick double crosses both of them and Riddick is left for dead on an un-named desert planet. Obviously Riddick isn’t about to give up. Cue various deadly interactions with the local wildlife, which start to become boring. Riddick rescues a local Jackal like pup and raises it, before finding a deserted Merc (mercenary) base whose rescue beacon he triggers.


This is where it gets interesting. Two mercenary gangs arrive to claim the bounty on Riddick’s head. One is lead by hot headed Santanna who arrives first and makes some rather “brave” claims about his intentions WRT Riddick. The second band of mercenaries, is lead by Boss Johns, the father of the merc Johns that Riddick killed in Pitch Black. These guys are rather more professional, and include Dahl (Katie Sackhoff) as a competent ruthless sidekick.

Though the overall pot of the film is a bit of a re-hash of Pitch Black in terms of alien predators besieging the humans (also in the dark with rain), the interaction between the two mercenary ganags and Riddick saves the day. Their different approaches and outlook are well done. The “jet bikes” are also a novel concept (not land speeders) along with the power nodes being incompatible.

It would make for an excellent Laserburn scenario with two highly different sets of mercenaries pitted against a real (anti-) Hero character. Again worth getting is its about £5 or £7 cheap.

PS: There is a Directors cut with an additional secne at the end involving the Necromungers.
PPS: There are very few images for this film on the ‘net, and no decent trailers without advertisement breaks.

Laserburn: The Weapons Factory

We played the scenario I’d written up: The Weapons Factory.

We built gangs of about 5,000 points and each fielded about 10 men each.

The table, as set up, with the factory in the middle.

We start deployment…

Rich deploys his troops including a sniper on the roof of the building.

I waste three recruits out on the far flank, who made little contribution until they got KO’d in an explosion later…

Feline supervision is needed, apparently !

Turn 2 and the first casualty – Rich’s sniper gets a head shot to my guy Lance – after Lance Henrikson one of only two actors to have been killed by an Alien, Predator, and Terminator.

A firefight ensued across the central open area. My guys caused a fair amount of damage to Rich’s team as I had a heavy bolter and my leader involved, so Rich started lobbing smoke grenades, which we improvised by using cotton wool balls stuck to paper templates.

Rich sent forth his minions.

They got Tobbac’A, before one got killed outright (standing in the open).

But this was evened up, when Rich fired on the dangerous materials loaded onto a truck, that blew up and KO’d my 3 flanking guys.

More smoke grenades were deployed, as after looting the weapons factory, Rich conceeded the game.

He got the weapons, I got the glory (experience points).

A good game and complaimnts about the layout of the rule book aside its still a nifty game that is enjoyable.

Further feline supervision was needed !

More photos are here

Laserburn: Aftermath

Byakhee Rich & I played a game of Laserburn today (Weapons Factory), here’s some thoughts:

  • How do we play this game again ? (After 6 months)
  • Even after 30 years of playing them of and on, its still difficult to follow the rules. They’re all in the rule book but just not in a logical or sensible order – they need editing.
  • Setting up gang rosters – we forgot to amend Initiative stats for the weapons and armour
  • Initiative, surprising how big an effect the modifiers had
  • Game was dominated by the three guys who had a chance to hit anything (it would have been four, but he got shot in the face in the second round)
  • Anybody of regular skill level with an inaccurate weapon can’t hit a barn door at 5 paces (cruel)
  • This affects tactics – I certainly wasted three guys who were flanking for most of the game and had little input
  • Cover isn’t much use
  • You’re harder to hit moving at walking pace
  • Move, shoot, move (into cover) is a good option
  • Out of sight is the best option (How not to be seen)
  • Being in the open is a death sentence, being out of sight is best because then you can’t be shot !
  • Take a chance (on me) and do the reaction roll (Rich got lucky on that many times…but when it really counted !)
  • Duckback ! Where the hell is that in the rules ? Turns out it is on p10, but we couldn’t find it when playing Grrr
  • Left leg – the most common location for being hit
  • Laserrs vs Armour = no damage
  • Morale & Unit coherence, applied by the players not the rules, maybe they need to be beefed up
  • Along with the deployment rules these are all missing because it is more like an adjunct to a RPG as opposed to a wargames system.

Next up, some photos of the game. 🙂

(Now editted for the typos, and a new link added)

Laserburn: Scenarios & Deployment rules

I’ve written up two scenarios Byakhee Rich & I will play tomorrow. I’ll trawl the records and brain cell to add some more as there seem to be very few Laserburn scenarios written up.

One thing that struck me when writing them up and reading the Laserburn rule book was the complete absence of deployment rules. Its totally up to the umpire to decide when designing the scenario – but what happens when there is no umpire ? Who chooses sides ? Who sets up first ? In what order ? How far in ? etc. Now having played different rules sets and different scenarios there are any number of options.

Some ideas for deployment rules:

  • Dice to choose side of table
  • Dice to choose deployment zone(s)
  • Play out the scouting rules as per Chain of Command
  • Hidden movement
  • Scouts & Vanguard movement (WHFB)
  • Place units alternately
  • Place all units in one go
  • Place units in an Initiative determined order (high first or low first)

It got me thinking as to how these rules would affect the way scenarios are run and how the balance of gamesmanship would change. If one side places all its units first, that could give the other side an unfair advantage (advanced intel). This is something that hasn’t come up in AVBCW yet where we simply all pile in all at the same time. Is this better or worse ? On what terms ? In terms of the chaos of war ? In terms of fairness ? Or does it disrespect advanced intel and hence undermine military prowess ? How far do you go when designing a scenario to favour one side or the other ?

I’ve longed to write up some inter war rules sets, and indeed to expand the Laserburn rules so if you have any ideas, chuck them in to the comments. I want to break out of the IGUGO rules and fixed deployment zones and get a really fluid battle going.

Thanks !

Laserburn: Scenery

My mate Byakhee JP, made me some terrain pieces for Laserburn and delivered them today whilst we had a conflab about our planned AVBCW Big Game.

A total surprise for me.
And a welcome one. 🙂

He pushed out all the stops.

A broken pin tack.
Some bases I’d given him.
Scavenged pieces from bins at work.
All the high end stuff.


Just as any wargamer would want their scenery pieces made !!!! 😀

Paint Log 2012

In order to remind myself how much I have done and taking a leaf out of Roughage’s blog, I have been keeping a log (spreadsheet) of all my painting (sad git).

Last year I painted the equivalent of more than 900 figures which is pretty good going. Since I started the log (2010), I have painted 2200 figures:

Figure Equivalents


















































I am doing this to keep myself motivated and remind myself just how much I have done, as I grind my way through the endless unpainted, unassembled desolation that the Playroom seems to hold in a TARDIS like style.

So when I commented about the Lustrian scenery, I remembered that I had a terrain piece by that company featuring The Hounds of Tindalos. So that is one of today’s easy wins for painting – hopefully photographed shortly.

In rummaging to find that, I came across another piece of scenery I dimly remember buying, and now needs some attention, for quite what purpose I have no idea but it’ll come to me in time and should be an easy paint, after I’ve watched some more DVDs to remind me of colour schemes. 😉

The current hiatus on AVBCW is due to me having an artistic block on the BUF Cavalry, the diea of painting more black, and more horses both at the same time has really dented my enthusiasm to paint them. Maybe after my current WHFB binge over the w/e I’ll get back to them.

NB: Not all my painting gets a posting – sometimes the latest batch of 10 DE Spearmen aren’t worth it.

Laserburn: Command & Control and ‘Bots

Some more GZG items that In have unearthed in the Playroom, or bought at Colours:

I envisage this as the Command & Control vehicle for an Imperial Police unit controlling some drones and robots.

Foundry Arctic Grey, with white highlight. Windows GW foundation blue, and the lighter blue Fundry Deep Blue. Yellow for lights.

They come armed with different weapons on the underside – though both of these are the same, and I have a heavier drone stacked up ready for assembly:

Here are some small wheeled ‘bots which I imagine would be the eyes and ears of the Imperial Police, going forward and spotting the ne’er do wells:

Laserburn: Scratchbuild (Updated)

To fend off Equine painting OCD, and to prevent the buuld up of yet another project’s materials that won’t get done for a long time, I’ve used the corner packing pieces of the netbook bought last week to make the first scratchbuild for laserburn.

The pieces are actually quite solid compacted card. But I sprayed the first piece with GW Roughcoat (now OOP but basically a grey textured spray) to help seal in the surface, so that after undercoating I could use washes and not worry about any warping of the card. I added some hatches and vents from GZG. Then undercoated it grass green: I didn’t want another dull grey building; nor a pale grey; and thought with a green it’d stand out more look military for a scenario my fevered brain cell has started cooking up.

(NB: It was less bright green than in the photo !)
Washes, and weathering made the add ons stand out and break up the monochrome colour a bit more.

(NB: This photo might get replaced tomorrow in natural light ! It’s not lime green honest !!)

Not bad, now to plan for my Raid on Ragnarok scenario…having rummaged through a box of GZG pieces I’d found some simple air drones and wheeled scout drones…

NB: No Cats were harmed in the production of this building, though they did oversee its construction:

Laserburn: Grunts & Grenades

Yesterday, Byakhees Anthony & Rich came round for a game of Laserburn. Due to various mishaps, mis-adventures and other cunning plans, we didn’t really get started until 1pm, but we played a long game in to the night (well 10pm actually !) with a hiatus for a curry takeout.

We planned for a game of 5,000 points each. So this would be a big game for us. We set the table up, finally using many of my scenery pieces of been painting.

I was quote pleased with the way the table turned out, it does seem to be integrated, and the use of bright colours offsets the dark granite brown (no its not black) base colour.

We had a scenario pitting the three of us against each other, with Imperial Droids (these are not the droids you’re looking for) turning up to deal with our heavily armed gangs. The rules for the Imperial Droids dictated they move towards the people firing weapons.
Anthony & Rich’s gangs clashed first:

Anthony in particular, had tooled up his cannon fodder with grenades which are particularly potent in Laserburn. Rich had at the last moment picked up on this and added in some grenades. Guess what…I’ll do the same next time !

Which lead to a rapid escalation of fighting between them.

A lucky shot from Anthony’s grenade launcher also managed to seriously wound my gang’s leader.
Then, the Imperial Droids turned up…right behind my gang, so I had to be very quiet lest they start shooting me !

Anthony’s gang also advanced toward me from behind the hill.

And so we mixed it up, with Imperial Droids acting as cover between us, well I used them as cover !

Meanwhile, Rich’s forces moved through the buildings to get at Anthony’s gang.

They finally blew each other top pieces, and with my gang mostly intact, both of them withdrew from the battle !

We had a good time, and found that:

  • Laserburn needs-rewriting to C21 standards
  • The mechanics are sound
  • Duckback is a REAL pain !
  • We need some marker tokens – Rich provided some temporary bits of paper, but in future we hope to do better!
  • It’s a fun system.

More photos here.

All the figures were mine, mostly original Laserburn (now, Citadel Traveller (now RAFM), and GZG. Scenery by GZG, Critical Mass Games, GW and Ainsty.

Laserburn – New Pages

Well, seeing as Laserburn is a game from c1983, many viewers won’t know much about it. So along with all the other amendments to the menu bar (that’s the bit at the top under the title) I’ve added one for Laserburn to explain what on Earth (or Mars) I am wibbling on about. Laserburn is WH40K’s great granddaddy in terms of its setting, and ideas for h/ware.

In anticipationof playing more games, and explaining why I have a very dichotomous set of colours when painting my Laserburn stuff, I also added the bones of what I have in mind for a Laserburn Campaign.
I supposed I really should do this as Byakhees Gavin H , Rich & I did contribute heavily to:

In particular the Chapter on Campaigns !

More detail will be added to these pages.
Still its a good excuse to watch Firefly, Serenity, BSG, Star Wars and many other sci fi films.

And in the back of my mind, there is also the CoC/Traveller/Laserburn cross over, which was actually done in White Dwarf decades ago that could do with some more exploration. 😉