Home Forums Modern Fistful of TOWs 3 and the $20 Challenge

This topic contains 57 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Thaddeus Blanchette Thaddeus Blanchette 2 days, 16 hours ago.

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  • #57080

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    By now nobody needs to ask if I’m a huge 3mm scale fan because I totally am. But I just picked up a copy of FFoT3, which I really like from reading. And Picoarmor here in the States seems to have just cut  prices significantly, making me want to revive an old idea I once had: the $20 Challenge.

    The basics are these: I ask my opponent to pick an army list, and with a budget of $20(US) I will build my opponent a force for modern play at 3mm scale, including painting and basing if desired. Then we play a campaign game, and if they win, they get to keep the army I built for them. If they lose, they pay me the $20 budget, and may at their option still keep the army.

    So, crazy? Probably. I’m also a busy guy so who knows if I’ll carry it off. But the intent is purely to boost the scale at the club, which is getting more and more attention these days.

    My plan at the moment is to use lists comparable to NATO or WARPAC countries but give them ImagiNation names, since a lot of my opponents tend to get a touch too “into” the politics on the tabletop. Azurnerreich and Krasnayorad, invented by our own T. Blanchette, are high in my list. Or something nondescript like The Coalition versus The Alliance, or possibly something vaguely humorous like Borduria versus Syldavia or Arstotzka versus Kolechia.

    #57098
    PatG
    PatG
    Participant

    I like this idea.  We did something similar for dark ages using 6mm figures for Saga. You can play on a bathmat and I think the spend was about $20.

     

    #57115
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I’d take you up on the challenge, Matt. We could even do it mutually. But how would we play? I WAS up in Montreal this year, but that is not likely to happen again, soon.

    By the way, those two imagination names were made up by Jim Dunnigan in The Blitzkried Module System to replace Avalon Hill’s Great Blue and Big Red. My early 1960’s-style imagination armies are based on that game.

    Here’s Krasnynorad, based for the Five Core system….

    …and here are the bad boys from Azurnereich:

    I did them because I wanted to play good old tank battles, withhout ATGMs, and not be beholden to history. <i>Blitzkrieg</i> seemed as good a place as any, given my obsession with the game.

    Blue has German WWII and early Allied Cold War kit. Red has Soviets. The neutrals have assorted WWII and early Cold War kit. IIRC, the limit for a weapon system is that it had to be deployed by 1965.

    Y’know, we could both do armies and use Five Core to come up with backgrounds for our nations….

     

     

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57118
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Hell, if we could agree on a simple enough set of rules and a virtual gaming platform, we could turn it into TWW’s first transcontinental wargame tournament. Winners get their opponent’s army. We’d need common basing conventions and what not, but it’d be so doable

    And it would be a real slap in the face to those arrogant assholes who play the macroscales over at Joy of Six and Blastastic! 😀 6mm… Christ, it’s like a parking lot when the tanks go at it, innit?

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57124

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Why, continents represent a mere technicality, Thaddeus. Even doing a $20 challenge merely as a painting and display exercise would be fun and worthwhile. One way to do it would be to exchange armies with a promise to play and post photos and results on TWW here. My current rules of choice would be FFOT3 but Commander System is doable as well if slightly less granular.

    The Modified 3×20 Challenge: one person paints and bases the army, the other plays it off against his own, either solo or with a willing third party as opponent, and agrees to post suitably purple battle reports and liberal photographs. If the constructed army wins, the recipient keeps it. If the constructed army loses, the recipient keeps it and reimburses the other’s Defense Budget for $20.

    Frankly the $20 is just a gimmick and I’m willing to dispense with it entirely and just do an Army Exchange.

    If more people than we were interested, that could be like Secret Santa: you’d know for whom you build and paint your army but not who’s building yours.

    An idea anyway. You’re right that basing conventions would be proper: I’m perfectly happy to translate the FFOT convention of one vehicle=one platoon on a piece for piece basis: I frequently single-base my 3mm vehicles. I’m making 3/4″ x 1″ with a 1/4″ label my new basic convention for that.

    #57127
    Iain Fuller
    Iain Fuller
    Participant

    I’m liking this idea too chaps, it will give me an excuse to try out the 3mm madness.

    I currently have an alt-history vibe with my FFT3 forces, which is very similar to imaginationing really, although it is in 6mm. I’ve just about finished off my Polish Army and will be tackling the next one pretty soon. I could just port them over to 3mm.

    Btw, I was told by a new Polish member of the club on Monday one of the reasons behind the 3mm range being started – apparently it was to help in making it cheaper to play Spearhead.

    #57131

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Certainly no more than the cost of a pizza and a soda these days! Very economical and still remarkably detailed! This would be a good chance for on-the-fencers to try it out without getting in too deep if they ended up not liking it.

    #57152
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    I’ve been eyeballing FFT3, let us know how it plays!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #57153
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Well, let’s set up some conventions, then.

    In the name of making everything cheap, I suggest that we adopt a basing standard of one vehicle/weapon casting per platoon. One of the things we want to show off here is 3mm’s ability to do easy, one-off projects.

    Also, I suggest that we set a clear upper limit to the tech. I propose something like I already laid out: if it was fielded before 1965, you can use it. If there’s something special you want that came in a bit after, I’m sure we can work it in. But I’d like to avoid complicated rules for ATGMs, helicopters and the like. Sort of an Old School Avalon Hill style wargame. I’d also suggest we keep air powerout of it, or at least abstract it. Otherwise people will start having to buy planes and AAA.

    We could also make it WWII level technology, early or late. I’d just avoid late Cold War stuff. That would be my personal preference, at any rate, although I’d cheerfully accept being voted down if everyone wants to play with modern toys.

    We could even do sci-fi, if we want.

    I don’t have FFOTs 3. I think I have the second edition lying around here, somewhere. I am much more conversant with the Commander system. We’ll have to decide on a system before we get going so people can build their armies.

    I also suggest a 21 USD limit. If the packs are at 3.50 again, that means 6 packs of figs.

    What do you guys think?

    Finally, I will happily write the campaign chronicles. I’m on Pico Armor’s War College and the two John’s would LOVE a project like this. They might even be willing to pop for a gift certificate for the winner or some such.

     

     

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57161

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I think that sounds very reasonable, and I am willing to do background fluff, writeups, base labels, etc, as desired. Two of my go-to ImagiNations are the Zaporoskiye Federal Defense Force and the Zaporoskiye People’s Democratic Republic Armed Forces – ZFDF and ZPDR. But you know I can toss these off like anyone and I invite all manner of imaginary setups! Part of the fun!

    And please DO let the Johns know – I’ve been buying from them for years now and they are class acts in the extreme!

    So, a “scale year” of 1965 is fine by me; we could do 1970 if people want to use ATGMs, which seem pretty well integrated in FFOT. I would really like to try FFOT3 now that I have it, though using different versions doesn’t bother me much, since one is free but the other is quite the opposite. I do recommend it though (an aside to DSG) – well written and pleasant to handle, no doubt. A nice volume to own for its own sake.

    For comfortable basing I recommend a standard 1.2mm Litko base size of 5/8″ x 1″ or 3/4″ x 1″, with a 1/4″ wide label on the short edge – as I said I will gladly design labels if desired, unless you think it would ruin the surprise! You know how I do those labels and ToE’s, Thaddeus.  I’ll be buying my bases in bulk and had originally planned to include them in the Challenge just to prove me elan but it would probably be more fair to leave them out.

    One casting per unit is a direct 6mm scale analogue, and is what I was planning already.

    #57165
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Boy, do I have ideas!

    The only problem I forsee is that we might get some really unbalanced forces. Frex, I am thinking of building a popular militia brigade. A mixed tank/mech team could probably see them off!

    Another option would be to do a Brazilian Armored cavalry regiment.

    Again, because we are limited to six packs, I suggest the following:

    1. Heavy Artillery can be bought but should be kept off-board, w/o models (otherwise you blow one of your packs buying, effectively a brigade of artillery).
    2. No air power. Otherwise we’d need to give a thought to air defenses and that would take up a pack for another brigade’s worth.
    3. No helicopters, for the same reason as #2, above.

    I think the goal here should be for us to show how much can be down with how little, so we want the armies to be relatively simple.

    I will DEFINITELY bring this up with the Johns!

    Gawd, do I have the most off-the-wall idea for a light infantry/armored rebel army! Ha! This is going to be a blast!

     

     

     

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57166

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I’m open to leaving all options in, like helos, AA detachments and modeled artillery. With less-than packs you can get smaller numbers of different things. I tend to think a dedicated system like FFOT will make more allowances there, though I do see your point about the upper cost limit not necessarily matching the power of the force. Maybe establishing the setting and relative forces would help – troop quality is a big deal in the system and you might build a force of infantry with a lot of experience – veterans, longtime fighters and/or “Little Green Men” from a hostile neighboring power, versus more heavily equipped but more basically trained regular troops. That would make for an interesting asymmetrical conflict.

    Or alternately, each person builds both forces and lets the other person choose the one they want to take – OPFOR swap. Which would give incentive to balance it up a little.

    Anyhow, food for thought…

    #57167
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    The problem with the less-than packs is that they are outrageously cost inefficient. I am not quite sure that would be a good thing to rub in the faces of those just getting into 3mm. I can see it now: “Hang on, I only need three artillery models and I have to pay five times the price for them?!”

    Sure, it’s only 2.00, but you know how people are….

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57169

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    True, but I’m still open to it. Perhaps a combination of points and cost limit. That is, a force of a certain point cost on which you could spend no more than $21.

    The idea is still germinating for me, I’m open to alternatives.

    #57170
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I think the 21 dollar limit is enough. We can build balanced scenarios, point wise, out of the armies we create. Which means I might have a brigade on the table to your company, but c’est le little lead guerre. 🙂

    I do think airpower will make it a big problem, however. You’ll need to buy a pack of planes AND AAA.

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57173

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I’m on board with that. No obligation to use the whole army would cut the danger of a points washout.

    #57180
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Ha! Wait until you see the stuff I’m bringing to the table. It will be… unique. 🙂

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57181
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    The Johns have a new forum on their site, by the way….

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57217
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Okay, here’s another stab at the norms, before I run this by the Johns…

    1) Historical limit: up to 1975. That’ll keep us out of high tech, reactive armor and the works. I agree that the ATGM rules in FFoT work simply and seemlessly, so….

    2) No airpower or helicopters. We need people to be able to use the FFoT free rules and we don’t want to force folks into buying AAA and air if we have a six pack limit.

    3) Maximum cost for army: 21 USD or six packs, presuming 3.50 a pack. We can allow a one pack extension if the judges (I am thinking the Johns) agree. This can ONLY be used for esthetic purposes. Say you buy a cavalry pack: you have fifteen platoons, but they’d look so much better if you could have another fifteen and double rank them… OK, buy another pack. Or let’s say you’re willing to have them at one casting per base, but you’d like to show them dismounted, too. Yes, you can buy a pack of foot infantry to show that. No, you don’t get “free” infantry to go with your IFVs because they are both seperate units in the FFoT rules. Your transport has to be bought seperately and counts towards your 20 USD limit.

    4) You build your army out of the force pool you buy, according to points per scenario.

    5) Armies must be reasonably plausible in terms of their organization. They can be weird, as long as you can give us a rationale, but avoid things like buying two packs of M109s and fielding thirty artillery batteries, or an all TOW infantry force.

    6) Basing, 5/8 inch by 1 inch. Long for armored vehicles, short for infantry, unarmored vehicle and towed weapons. This way, you can tell at a glance what kind of target it is. Agreed?

    7) For scenario points purposes, you can buy one off-board artillery unit of up to four batteries. This doesn’t need to be represented by castings. However, if you want more than this, you need to represent ALL your offboard artilley with castings. So you want a brigade’s worth of BM-21? You need to buy a pack of them. This way, everyone can get some artillery support without having to waste a pack, but if you want a lot of it, you need to buy the castings.

    8) Games can be played virtuall, in person, or according to the paint it and mail it off scheme you list above.

    So what do you think?

     

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57238

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    A tad rulesey but I can go with it since I see what you’re getting at by not being too wide-open about it, lest the game be unplayable by mixing 21st century forces with postwar militia or some such.

    How do we handle our opposing forces, with which we will play off against each other? I suggest similar constraints, selected for an appropriate time period to match that of the force built for the challenge? Or is it catch-as-catch-can, straight head to head my $21 versus your $21?

    #57396
    Splod
    Splod
    Participant

    Hmm, I could be interested in something like this!

    I have to admit though that the attraction to 3mm has been platoon basing, as I have all my 6mm single based. But if it were for a challenge, I could be persuaded to join in. I’ll likely try and flog my work to someone afterwards anyway 😉 Might be the kicker to convert me across to 3mm, or squash the urge for 3mm…

    I have the FFoT3 rules, and they are fantastic. I fully recommend you pick them up if you play small scale games. My copy is spiral bound, which makes for easy reading when in the middle of a game.

    As for setting, I’ve always been drawn to African/Bush Wars as setting for Imagi-nations. Even if set in 70’s – 80’s, it gives plenty of scope for everything from WW2 equipment in use with rebels and government forces, all the way up to modern kit with western peacekeeping forces and mercenary units.

    #57408
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I think that the Bush Wars idea is pretty muchnwhat we’re talking about, although it isn’t specified. Kit up to 1975 will just generally give you a nation like that.

    Matt, does FFoT3 have rules for scenario generation?

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57484

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I haven’t read that section thoroughly but it seems that it’s more geared towards set scenarios (which seem to follow those found in tactical field manuals – hasty attack, defense in depth, etc.) combined with a matrix for progressing from one scenario to the next in a campaign of 3-7 battles or so.

    By the way, my unit is about ready – I used less-thans to get more variety in spite of the inefficiency of it, and topped at $21.40. Might reshuffle for the sake of making it just-so.

    My war setup is going to be Borduria vs. Syldavia, so I hope you guys won’t mind a campaign in southeastern Europe!

    “Eih bennek, eih blavek!” (Or if you prefer, “Amaïh, Pleksy-Glâdsz!”)

    #57592
    bishnak
    bishnak
    Participant

    Okay, here’s another stab at the norms, before I run this by the Johns… 1) Historical limit: up to 1975. That’ll keep us out of high tech, reactive armor and the works. I agree that the ATGM rules in FFoT work simply and seemlessly, so…. 2) No airpower or helicopters. We need people to be able to use the FFoT free rules and we don’t want to force folks into buying AAA and air if we have a six pack limit. 3) Maximum cost for army: 21 USD or six packs, presuming 3.50 a pack. We can allow a one pack extension if the judges (I am thinking the Johns) agree. This can ONLY be used for esthetic purposes. Say you buy a cavalry pack: you have fifteen platoons, but they’d look so much better if you could have another fifteen and double rank them… OK, buy another pack. Or let’s say you’re willing to have them at one casting per base, but you’d like to show them dismounted, too. Yes, you can buy a pack of foot infantry to show that. No, you don’t get “free” infantry to go with your IFVs because they are both seperate units in the FFoT rules. Your transport has to be bought seperately and counts towards your 20 USD limit. 4) You build your army out of the force pool you buy, according to points per scenario. 5) Armies must be reasonably plausible in terms of their organization. They can be weird, as long as you can give us a rationale, but avoid things like buying two packs of M109s and fielding thirty artillery batteries, or an all TOW infantry force. 6) Basing, 5/8 inch by 1 inch. Long for armored vehicles, short for infantry, unarmored vehicle and towed weapons. This way, you can tell at a glance what kind of target it is. Agreed? 7) For scenario points purposes, you can buy one off-board artillery unit of up to four batteries. This doesn’t need to be represented by castings. However, if you want more than this, you need to represent ALL your offboard artilley with castings. So you want a brigade’s worth of BM-21? You need to buy a pack of them. This way, everyone can get some artillery support without having to waste a pack, but if you want a lot of it, you need to buy the castings. 8) Games can be played virtuall, in person, or according to the paint it and mail it off scheme you list above. So what do you think?

    I like it!!

    bish
    http://tinytanks3mm.blogspot.com.au/

    #57681
    Splod
    Splod
    Participant

    Bishnak, if I remember from your blog you’re in Canberra?

    I’ll be heading down for CanCon next year (likely Epic Armageddon), but would have time for a mini-bash. How about we both have a crack at this, and the winner takes both forces? 😉 Hell, we could even put together a small terrain pack each to go with our army.

    So, theme for the Imagi-Nations… Similar conflicts for inspiration in brackets.

    • Middle Eastern (Arab-Israeli Wars, Iran-Iraq War)
    • South East Asia (Vietnam, Malaysian Confrontation)
    • Cold War Gone Hot (Doesn’t have to be Imagi-Nation)

    Will you pick up the Gauntlet?

    #57683
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    The Johns are into this idea and seem to think some gift certificates might be in order if we can actually get this thing organized and document it with photos and such.

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57690

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I’m broaching the idea around my club.  And of course we can always trust the international post…

    #57779
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    So we are going with a 3/4 x 1 inch basing standard, correct?

     

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57781
    Splod
    Splod
    Participant

    Will you be offended if I choose 20mm x 25mm? Us out in the colonies struggle with Imperial measurements.

    #57784
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I will be doing mine at one inch by five-eighths, if that is alright.

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57785
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    That’s usually what I use, Splod. I think anything in the general vicinity will do.

    Matt, a question: how big can units be in the FFoW advanced rules? In the basic rules they can be three or four stands big. Does that change?

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57795

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I didn’t see an upper limit, but the bigger the unit is, the less flexible it will be because of unit cohesion.  WARPAC/Soviet/Eastern and Third World units therefore tend to be individually powerful in mass but less useful on the battlefield because they have to remain in particular cohesion distances and so can be outmaneuvered by smaller and more agile NATO/Western units.

    That’s my takeaway on it at the moment, anyway.  Someone with more extensive experience could probably comment more clearly?

    #57800
    Splod
    Splod
    Participant

    I’ve had a look through the rules, and I don’t believe there is a hard cap on formation size.

    ‘Western’ forces tend to have tank companies between 2 to 4 stands, and infantry companies of 3 – 4 stands plus transport.

    Soviet and Third World forces have larger units, with the basic maneuver unit being a battalion. Most of the lists have tank battalions listed as 6 stands, , although in some cases in the Soviet list they can be as large as 9. Infantry battalions are similarly large, generally being 9 infantry stands, plus transport; sometimes with attached assets such as ATGW, Mortar, or ATG.

    So I was doing some rough scibbling, ideally we should be able to raise a Brigade of Western military? Are people planning on creating their own imaginary forces, or just using existing lists?

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by Splod Splod.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by Splod Splod.
    #57804

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I think it’s pretty open so long as you can write a convincing justification for it.  I’m using the Soviet/NATO army lists as a starting point for Borduria and Syldavia, and modifying them as I go, given the lack of access to complex kit in smaller Balkan countries.

    #57806
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I’m basically doing a third world light armored brigade. Based on a Brazilian mech cavalry brigade, in fact.

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57837
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    This just in from the folks at Pico Armor:

    Thanks Thad for sharing your upcoming $21 campaign and rule set with us! Here’s a couple more updates:

    – We’re sending out a note to our entire customer list to let them know about the new site, lower prices, the WC AND a $21 raffle for everyone who posts an intro to our discussion board! 
    – As you know, the $21 raffle would be a great way for new (and old) customers to be invited to play in your upcoming campaign – we hope to attract at least a few more players to the campaign which looks like can launch sometime in March.
    – I shared the platform Roll20 – I’ve used it before to play D&D campaigns and it is versatile enough to adapt to other game systems – @Thad – if you have a chance to check it out, it might lend itself to this $21 campaign, even if it is just to collect players on one platform for them to post their moves and to connect with each other. The max# of players I have actually played with is about 6 – not sure if that is a limitation.
    Please feel free to post widely that Pico is ramping up its engagement with players interested in 3mm wargaming! Invite them to check out the website and to post for the raffle. 
    Many thanks in advance, 
    Nina

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57842

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Um… good?

    I’m afraid I don’t quite follow that since it seems to be in shorthand.  But okay!  Went ahead and registered on the PA forum, just for the sake of neighborliness.

    #57878
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Just a quick thought on the partial packs.

    This is a bit of a nit, but I suggest we up the purchase limit to 21.50 USD. This allows for the purchase of five whole packs and two three packs, or five whole packs and five individual miniatures. It’ll give people who are doing what you’re doing more wiggle room to work with.

    Seems picky, I know, but….

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

    #57881

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I’m willing to be pretty flexible really. Setting too hard a limit is going to lead to too much nitpicking. I’d call a reasonable $21 target okay – like if that last handful of tanks puts you over but makes your ToE make sense, then go for it. But a full extra tank battalion when you were already at $20, that would be poor sportsmanship.

    We’re all wargamers here – I think we could all be comfortable within the constraints of the honor system.

    #57882
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    It’s the “We’re all wargamers here” part that scares me. 😉 Altough I agree re: flexibility!

    Brazil is the country of the future! And always will be!

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