Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New counters for the Nihon units!

In early May I reveiled my version 1 of the Nihon counter set. This included trains, heavy tanks, infantry and even the command centers. The problem? They were unevenly blue, opaque and I messed up a bit on the double sided aspect of the counters.
My solution? Print the counter art content on a thin clear overhead sheet through my laser printer and cover that with two 7 mil sleeves of contact plastic run through a laminator I have.
Anyways, here are the counters that I photographed.
The complete Nihon army unit types they field 95% of the time. There are specialist units but they are not worth printing in that they are used on very rare occasions and are rarely seen by the Combine or Paneuropeans.

Showing the light and regular GEV, light and heavy Tank and the light and regular howitzers.

A personal view of a 3/1 Nihon unit of Power suited infantry. They are nearly identical to Combine and Paneuropean infantry except that all the instructions are in Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean as well as other languages from Southeast Asian countries that are a part of the Nihon alliance (The Nihon empire to the Combine).

These are the containers I keep the Nihon units in. They are wonderful in that the counters do not shift around and they lock shut. Additionally I can write on the clear tops in permanent pen what units are what.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my Nihon counter set. I have enough Nihon counter sets to play engagements into the 100s of victory points. I just played a 310 victory point game with a few of my friends (each controlled a "battalion" of Nihon units) against a slew of encroaching Paneuropean and Russian OGREs. The area was in Kamchatka, among the low lands while the Russian resistance forces were in the mountains.
Guess who won?

My thoughts on Steve Jobs and Apple Computers (may piss off some Apple Monks...)

The words of a monk-like Apple follower:
"...I find myself believing [in God] a bit more. Maybe it's because I want to believe in an afterlife, that when you die, it dosen't just all disappear. The wisdom you've accumulated...somehow it lives on. Yeah, but sometimes I think it's just like an on/off switch. *click* and you're gone.
And that's why I don't like putting on/off switches on Apple devices.
RIP Steve Jobs......... your my inspiration, and the world is most certainly a lot darker without you..."
I can understand being sad and empty about a person you admired who has died. But going so far to not turn off electrical appliances for a man who has died you have never met nor did not know personally?
If you are going to beleive in God, don't add into that equation a businessman whose sole purpose was to make money by limiting features on what he sold. Did God made apples so that once you ate 70%-80% you had to give up 1 month of your life in order to have the rest of the apple? The two personalities, God and Steve Jobs, are rather immiscible, as oil and water is.
For heaven's sake, don't get all philosophical about Steve Jobs. He was a business man who knew how to manipulate people into devices that have close to three-quarters of their features locked up.
One more legacy of Steve Jobs left us was locking up iPhones up with the worst cell service on earth. Yes, AT&T was married to the iPhone for way too long (maybe enough time to make AT&T a lot of money from the Apple fanaticism phenomena).
iPhones are for people who do not have high paying jobs (or jobs at all - beside their fan-boi leader Jobs himself) but want to look like they do. Serious business people use the Blackberry. With the Blackberry you can actually program or obtain programs without Apple's assistance or having your Blackberry locking up due to 'tampering'. You don't have to wait for an 'app' to come out for a Blackberry. Where is the app for the iPhone to unlock it fully and allow you to have another service or be compatible with other programs from other devices? No app for that? Thought not. By the way, that app is extremely possible and would be rather simple to implement.
Devotion to a company can go too far. Yes, a money making company, not a religious organization that puts out hand held devices. Then when they shower you with another miracle device, a man dressed like a trendy, half-bald Mr. Rogers gets on stage like he was guru, a visionary, a something we are to worship? It seemed like that to me when I saw him do his thing on the stage.
Don't forget how Steve Jobs designed his devices he showers us unwashed masses a little at a time to have features in them we KNOW ARE THERE to be locked up and brick up it if we try to access them fully. This is so he and his company may later unlock them and charge extra money for the act or institute a monthly charge on unlocked content.
Oh yes - another legacy he left behind: iTunes. That piece of filth software that is my only safe conduit to my iPod nano. Don't get me wrong, my iPod nano has really good sound, is reliable and does not have a bad design at all (unlike the Zune). Nevertheless has anyone at Apple ever heard of compatability with other operating systems and drag and drop to a device with memory to serve as a hard drive as well? Thanks to this Steve Job I have to load up iTune (a big load of 'spend your money here' piece of crap on my computer) every time I want to communicate with my iPod.
Don't even get me started on how the iPod can totally be a movie player and yet they locked that up tight as a frog's you know what.
Steve Jobs is like a new car salesman that sells a cool new shiny car but with 80% of the functions disabled you KNOW ARE THERE and then in front of you welds the hood and trunk shut.
If you try to fix it the car, it either blows up or stops working permanently and then customer service throws up their hands in 'helplessness' and says it's your fault.
If you like Apple products, good for you. I like some of them and I would love them even more if they unlocked features that are there when you bought the thing at the checkout. You really are a blind follower of all that is Apple if you believe that this for the good of the people. No, this locking of innate features on a device they sell is for the good of Apple and no one else.
Three questions to ask an Apple Monk (What I call radical followers of all that is Apple):
1. Ask an 'Apple Genius' or an Apple Monk  this: How free is it to upgrade my memory in my Apple computer from 2GB to 8GB after I have bought the memory seperately from Apple?
2. How many first person shooter, real time strategy and role playing games can you play on your oh so shiny Apple computer? Can you even list a dozen without thinking hard?
3. Why has not Micro$oft bought Apple or pushed it into bankrupsy already after 20 years? I beleive that Apple exists to give MicroSoft an appearance to have competition.

Anyways, go PC if you want lots and lots of games, programs, the freedom to program and modify your device without it bricking up or exploding.
Buy Apple if you want a well designed, expensive, easy to use device that you cannot modify in any way except in the way Apple wants you to.

Augmented Infantry and Augmented Marines (Militia with bionics!)

I was thinking about how other countries do not have the up to date units that other countries have.
» Archaic armor and technology are left-overs of what we call today modern. In the battlefield of the future, less fortunate countries have to use the other super-power’s hand–me–downs.
» There are a few simple rules that differ from OGRE/GEV when dealing with archaic armor (1995 – 2015)
» Archaic armor is not effected by spillover fire from another archaic unit's fire. + Archaic armor, when attacked with nuclear spillover fire, all take the full attack for every archaic armor unit in that hex. If a Heavy tank from the future attacks a hex with three main battle tanks in it (2/2 R2 M2), then all three tanks take the 4 attack and therefore three rolls are made to determine the fate of all three unfortunate archaic armor in that hex.
Infantry can be picked up by an APC from an adjacent hex, then dropped off in another hex adjacent hex, but the infantry may not attack if transported this way, even if the enemy is within range. They must wait until next turn to attack. They may be dropped off by an APC or truck and attack immediately if they were not picked up in the same turn. They exit the APC in the same hex or an adjacent one to attack (player's choice). The archaic APC may join in the fight with's archaic weaponry as well to augment the infantry's abilities.
» Any unit, even 0/0 trucks and 1/1 light scout vehicles may pull artillery. It takes one full turn to set up the artillery and one 1/1 infantry must be left behind to operate the archaic artillery (hence, the truck being able to carry 1/1 infantry). An archaic artillery piece may fire at plus one range at the cost of one attacking factor. For instance, the average archaic artillery piece is 2/4. It may fire 5 hexes (7.5 miles) if it attacks at only 1 attack factor. The reason the ranges are so short for these archaic units is that the shells they fire are not archaic. Theoretically, these artillery pieces could fire a shell over 20 miles (about 13-14 hexes) but the technology available to the opposing side could shoot that shell out the sky within the first few miles without maneuvering assistance technology. In fact there are modern rockets launchers (namely the American made M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System) that can place rockets at near double that of conventional artillery of the 1995-2015 military era to the sum of over 40 miles (over 26 hexes). Nevertheless, future weapons would shoot these partially unguided rockets ‘of the past’ out of the sky before they reached 6-7 miles downrange. The chassis of the original unit still exists but the payload has been modified to keep up.
» Archaic units that are passing through the same hex of other archaic armor or infantry may pass through without overrun combat if they do not end up in that same hex. The occupying unit may choose to attack the other unit passing theough, but at  only1/2 strength (rounded down). If, however, the intruding unit passes through another enemy unit in a hex before it passed into this one, that ½ strength is now full strength (you scouted their position and are ready for them – good to have screening infantry and scout units surrounding your armor). A unit may move into another enemy's hex and initiate close quarter combat. The defending unit may attack first and it the attack is successful the attacking unit may fire back before being removed from play.

» Infantry is augmented and may move about 20 mph to 25 mph with newer technology robotics. Their logistics are carried by four legged ‘pack robots’ and can keep up with the grunt infantry. This type of infantry, however, is not protected from radiation, biological and chemical warfare. Nevertheless if the player is given one turn notice that one or all of these three types of attacks are being used in battle, he may prepare his infantry for these types of attacks but all his infantry fight at one less strength than before (all that protection is hard to fight in!).
» Now each augmented infantry unit can jump jet recklessly into combat, throwing everything at their opponent but sacrificing 1 defense (anything hitting them destroys the whole unit), 1 attack but gaining 1 movement. This makes them not as useless as once thought. For 2 VP you can purchase a 3/1 company of augmented infantry while for 4 vp you can purchase a 2/2 of power suited 'clamshell' infantry. Both attack at 2 when the augmented infantry sacrifice 1 DEF and 1 ATT but the augmented infantry are more easily destroyed once they get there if they miss.
» Just like militia, but way better equipped, they are exposed to the elements to a certain degree (more than power suited armor, let me tell you!) When attacked, a DIS and X result on the CRT just reduces the unit by one 1/1 augmented infantry unit and the rest are subjected to spillover fire (DIS=NE and X=DIS  for each other 1/1 squad in the unit).
» If non-power suited infantry are in an armored APC they are protected from nuclear, biological and chemical warfare as well as the chance of becoming 'shaken' in combat - as long as they stay within the APC. All archaic augmented infantry may attack FROM the APC but at one reduced strength. The archaic APCs of the past also so not have to stop at streams and may treat water up to hex of the coast as clear terrain (they float).
Tell me what you think. I did a game with archaic armor in it with a FEW modern units (1 GEV, 1 HVY TNK and a 2/2 of power armored infantry).
» The Cobb point system actually made it a close game on the beautiful OGRE/GEV S-2 map. I pretended that the Cameroon oil fields were under attack with archaic armor and the other side responded in like kind. The fields were taken, but not without many armor hulks littering the battlefield.
» The future units were taken out almost immediately as they were the greatest threat. Of course, the GEV was swarmed by several Harriers. If you want the stats of the Harriers, IM me - I would be happy to provide them. You see, in places where archaic armor is the norm, aircraft and helicopters are still lethal.

Make your game interesting if you are using reinforcement tables...

Instead of just receiving 24 vp worth 
of reinforcements every turn...
To be made into cards
1. Hole in their ECCM defenses! Enemy rolls the dice at -1 on the CRT twice on his turn, you choose which dice rolls.
2. Spy Satellite! You roll on the CRT at +1 twice, you choose which dice rolls or you can negate the "Black Horse" OGRE stealth ECCM for two attacks on it with any two units within range.
3. Spy placed EMP! Disable up to three of their armored units with less than 5 defense within a 3 hex radius for one turn within 8 to 12 hexes of their command post. If you use this on infantry then remove three infantry in that 3 hex radius.
4. Stealthily placed mines! Mine in 3 unoccupied hexes, from 8 to 12 hexes away from your or their Command Post, with either an AP mine or anti-armor mine.
5. Holographic drones! Put up to six units that count up to 24vp that don't exist on the board as "reinforcements". They remain on the board until attacked and destroyed as a result without a CRT roll. The holographic units cannot attack but can go into terrain originally forbidden by the unit it emulated (the drone hovers). You don't need to reveal this card until one of the deceptions are destroyed.
6. Forest path found! You may travel through forest with up to 5 GEVs this turn without any terrain penalties as long as each GEV moves in a straight line through the forest and all take the same path. This also applies to the second movement phase at which the GEVs all may switch direction for up to 3 hexes on the same path in that second phase of movement.
7. Disgruntled utility workers bribed! Destroy up to 2 road hexes or 1 railroad hex within 8 to 12 hexes of your or their Command Post.
8. Shallow swamp or weak obstacles! Un-stick up to three units (except OGREs) from swamp, rubble, forest or town hexes.
9. Sabotage! Up to two enemy howitzers or two enemy missile lobbing units fire duds this turn with an attack of zero. If the OGRE fires more than 2 missiles, 2 of them are duds and attack the targeted unit with two 0 attacks. You may present this card upon 'impact' of the missile or artillery shell (and watch their face).
10. Surprise attack! During one overrun with less than 10 units involved (both yours and theirs) you attack first but with no double attack modifier. Subsequent attacks after they have counterattacked are still double attack though.
11. Double Agent! Negate one of your enemies special abilities above.
11 down, 25 more ideas to go...
Author's note:
I will come up with more cards soon if I do indeed want to make this into a card set. I think I will make up to 36 unique advantages worth 24 vp. So far I think all the advantages above are worth 24 vps. 
I am open to suggestions if you have any...