Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Kodiak base! KODIAK!

The Kodiak is a 100 ton Ghost Bear assault mech. It is a totem mech (it looks like a fricken bear) that is primarily used in garrison clusters as a command platform. What that means is: if you are looking for the leader of that defense force that’s busy chewing you a new one, it’s easy. He’s the one IN THE BEAR. The first time I saw a Kodiak was in this old chestnut…

Kodiak’s cop a bit of flak on the forums for having a narrow threat envelope, but I think that ignores the bigger picture. Let’s take a closer look.

In its classical configuration, its main armament is 8 ER medium lasers. Its heat sink set up is designed to take the heat this array builds up, coupled with running for a few turns, before it starts to negatively impact on performance. “What about the Ultra AC 20?” I hear you say. At the moment, it is just looking like a Nova Primary with twice the armour. The Ultra AC 20 doesn't have enough ammo to plug away frequently. Its main advantage is that it can dish out damage at a higher heat/damage ratio when compared to the medium lasers, but you can only afford to take this advantage when you have a good chance to hit. The Streak SRM 6s, on the other hand, are very efficient weapons when you require high to-hit rolls. They are also great for punching holes in stuff during the endgame, when you have stripped the armour off your enemy.

So, what doesn't the Kodiak have? Its damage potential isn't that great, a Nova or a Stormcrow are able to put out just as much hurt, minus the armoured staying power (though they may maneuver their way out of trouble). It doesn't have the benefit of pulse lasers or a targeting computer, though with a Star Colonel/Galaxy Commander inside it hardly needs these things. Take it in a star with a Stone Rhino, Grizzly, Mad Dog, though, and the weaknesses of the Kodiak seem to evaporate. Everything else has a much broader threat envelope and at the very heart, you have that great big fricken bear of a thing.

I have seen a few custom variants of the Kodiak, which I will briefly mention here. The first takes all of the ER Medium lasers away and uses the spare 8 tons to mount jump jets (FREEBIRTH!). As I have mentioned before, those mediums are the main armament of the Kodiak, so taking them away just to mount jump jets (on the off of chance you can jump on someone’s head) is a strange choice. The other variant worthy of note swaps the Ultra AC 20 for a Gauss Rifle. Suddenly that threat envelope gets pushed out significantly and heat generation is less of a problem. Winner? Maybe. It seems sad to lose the AC though.

Modelling wise, well…take a look for yourself.

It looks a little……gombleshite. I couldn't quite figure out what it was that I didn't like about the miniature and the pose to start off with. The cockpit looked weird, and the arms didn’t look like they could be posed in a particularly offensive pose. Finally, the leg in the air was up way too high. It made the Kodiak look like it was tripping over something. Nothing my l33t h4xxx0r can’t fix! I sawed through the cockpit, leaving enough behind to give the bear eyebrows. Then I filed down the arms so that they could be posed in a “strangling you with 8 ER Mediums” pose. It looks just a little “Zangief” as well, which is no bad thing. Finally, I chiseled out the knee so that the leg could be posed in a straighter position.

So, that’s the Ghost Bear Kodiak. Sometime soon I will be painting an entire second line Star featuring this bad boy. Sometime after that, it will be tearing up my mechs. Such is life…

See you across the table,


Friday, 21 February 2014

What is "old school" gaming?

How many roads must a man travel down until he is called an “old school gamer”. I never experienced 40k during its seminal Rogue Trader era, or Battletech before the Clans invaded, or even the first edition of Magic the Gathering. I definitely didn’t play D&D back in the 70’s. But I have been playing long enough to talk about “the good old days”. Gaming has been a part of my life for a long time, and many of the best times I have had with my mates have been around a gaming board of some type. Experience has taught us to stick to a thing when it is good and ride it hard. Looking back, it is amazing to see how the games we play have changed, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the downright abominable. This blog is about getting the most out of the games we love and sharing those experiences. It is about old games and reclaiming the good old days. It is about new games being turned into classics. Most importantly, it is about good friends getting together and doing it “old school.”

So what can you expect from this blog? I’m planning on posting photos and reports of games we have played, review new games and rule-sets, develop new house rules and discuss play tests, showcase gaming projects and discuss old school heroes and villains in a weekly editorial.

How can you contribute? Feel free to send me photos of your games with a description of what you did (long or short). Let me know about what you are having fun with and what gets your goat in the gaming world. Send me some pics of your gaming projects and help support other gamers in our community by checking out their work and giving them encouragement. Finally, you can vote for the “Old School Hero/Villain” of the week and send me nominations. Above all, you can keep gaming!

See you across the table,