Wargame Dork

A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

[Operation Game Collection] Retrogames Collection Update 2018: Pre and Post Crash Computers n Smaller Systems Stuff?

Yes!  Smaller Systems!  These are machines that didn't make a big splash, I don't have much of, or only have the games because they are in one of my "Theme Collections" like Batman, Alien v Predator franchise, ect.  Or just titles I found super cheap.  See unlike many people I am totally cool with emulation but vastly prefer to own legitimate copies of my games.

Click for big if it gets your bytes megaed.
 Starting with the TI 99 computer here.  Not a whole lot honestly.  Its a system I might get some day if I can get it cheap enough.

The 3-5 Hunt:

Demon Attack (One of the best looking versions of this venerable classic.)
Car Wars (Because of the name even though it isn't the tabletop title.  Though Steve Jackson Games did some deal with TI to use the name.)
Microsurgeon (The definitive version of this classic probably.)

 A 2600 game I forgot about, and some Atari ST, Lynx, and Jaguar.  Given that the ST shares many games with both the Amiga, DOS PCs, Atari 800, and Commodore 64 I won't bother putting it in the Hunt.  And honestly the Jaguar is almost the same but its mostly just PC or Amiga titles since outside of Atari Karts nearly every other game worth a damn was a port anyhow outside of the Iron Soldier series and some of the modern homebrew stuff that require the infamous CDROM drive or are absurdly priced cartridges.  And even the Lynx is mostly ports of arcade games and a handful of exclusives.  So yeah.  No real hunt for most of Atari's Tramiel era machines.  

 The Commodore 64, aka THE MACHINE OF MY YOUTH.  A great platform.

The 3-5 Hunt:

Deathlord (A balls hard Ultima clone that goes for way too much nowadays.)
Transformers Battle to Save the Earth  (A not too good US released Transformers game because my dumb ass collects Transformers games.)
Wrath of Denethenor  (Another overpriced Ultima clone.)

 A system I have a fair collection for but still don't have the machine yet, the Tandy Color Computer family!

The 3-5 Hunt:

Downland  (A nifty Coco 1-2 only game in the old school platform explorer style.)
Gates of Delirium (An Ultima 3 clone.)
Poltergeist (Its based on that old horror classic.  Seriously.  I never knew such madness existed!)

My meager Amiga collection and my one and only MSX title.  Many Amiga drives and disks are varying levels of dead or dying.  And the MSX is an absurdly expensive system to collect for to the point NOBODY SHOULD BOTHER.

The 3-5 Hunt (Amiga)

Apidya (Its a pretty great SHMUP where you are a bug.)
Black Crypt (A US made Dungeon Master styled RPG.)
Agony (Its a SHMUP.  You are an owl.)
Shadow of the Beast III (The final game in the series and exclusive to the Amiga.)

MSX Hunt if Money Falls from the Sky

The Goonies (A really fun exploration platformer.)
Thexder II Firehawk  (The best version of this game.)
Aliens (A unique to this platform Alien game.  Its also kind of suck.)

  All these poor systems I don't have systems or a fully working system in the Amiga's case yet plenty of games I can TOTALLY PLAY IN AN EMULATOR ITS OK RIGHT?

  Otherwise I would have to delete the emulator image file within 24 hours!  :v

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bringing Back the Rogue Trader Scenarios Part 1?

Bringing back the classic scenarios within Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader, First Book of the Astronomican, and White Dwarf from the late 80s?  YES!

  You see I have always wanted to do something with some of these old scenarios but never really figured anyone would really care since most 40K players just want to do standard "Bring and Battle" games and very little else.

  But a friend who doesn't want to buy into the game but is somewhat interested and has another friend who is more interested has asked me to teach them how to play.  And I have multiple armies for the game plus 8th edition is actually pretty decent!  Sadly time to schedule a game is tough but this gives me the opportunity to prepare a good set of tutorials.  And what better way than using all these old scenarios, but twisted for the armies I have and the current ruleset?

I choose to start with.. the START.  The original Rogue Trader tutorial scenario, Battle at the Farm.  While it uses Space Marines versus Orks as they were in 1987, I am going to go with Alaitoc Eldar versus Necrons as those are the two forces I am focusing on in this edition for now.

I take Battlescribe and try to roughly build the forces in the current edition.

I also give a check as it would be in said edition and like the current one the Marines were way better points wise in spite of having the superior position.

I build forces to be much closer and decide the Eldar to be taking the place of the Marines,  I give them less points but not an extreme amount less while trying to roughly keep the model and rules count relatively simple for a tutorial mission.  16 Eldar models versus 24 Necrons.  No vehicles will be used for this mission, nor will Command Points or Warlord Traits or other things like that.  (More info when I do the actual write up of the scenario.)  If I had a proper low point cost Eldar HQ that wasn't a Psyker I would probably use them too but I don't.

My core concept will be the Eldar start inside the ruined farm structure and are required to hold it for three turns before needing to retreat (unless they manage to kill the attackers) and at least get the Warlock off the table.  The Necrons will be somewhat doing what the Orks did in the original and the Cryptek is out to collect an ancient artifact within the structure meaning the Necron player will have to protect the Cryptek yet get within the structure by the 5th turn as past that the Overlord will demand the Cryptek's unit to rejoin the fight to push the Eldar off the planet before they can bring more forces to bear.

To make things more interesting the first 3 turns will be considered to be at night with a 12" range maximum for all shooting, and increasing by 12 at the start of each battle round.  This means the better firepower of the Eldar get nerfed a little though they still benefit from most of the available cover on the table.  (Also the Eldar will be considered to have won setup role so can deploy first and have first turn, or force the Necrons to setup first and then the Eldar go second.)   These little things ought to keep the Eldar and Necrons from just trying to kill each other and actually enforce their core objectives.  Survive and escape with the Eldar, occupy the central terrain for the Necrons.

As the original scenario writers didn't seem to make a proper set of measurements for the battlefield this gives me leeway to make it any way I want with my available resources.

As I have had this thing I got on clearance a few years back sitting around, I decide to see if I can make a ruined farm house out of it.  At worst it was only 7 dollars USD or so.  No loss if it fails right?

 I also had a second copy of the Magic Planeswalkers NOT HEROSCAPE game I got for 5 dollars just for parts which will make an excellent desert board for us to use.  The water is handy as it is perhaps a desert oasis this farm once stood upon until the Necrons awoke and destroyed it.  This is half of my board sections from the box and if I choose to borrow parts from both of the core sets I have to play the actual Magic NOT HEROSCAPE game with I can connect them and make it bigger.

 Some of the molds in the Crayola thing.

 I do some tests with the grey tub of Morphix.  Its semi sticky sand like material that if left to dry still maintains some graininess and flexibility.  Getting the stuff out of the molds is a bit of a pain!

I get a piece of brown foam I glue some printer cardstock to and build a little farm and walls.  Normal white glue and glue stick seems to work though using all of the two more earthy colors doesn't give me a ton of pieces to work with.  And it doesn't exactly look like even a ruined building, does it?  Some folks online say some green stuff to putty things in should make it nice but.. I don't know.  Also I don't actually have proper green stuff epoxy, only repeatedly watered down liquid.

While I worked on the above I did some Simple Green paint stripping of my Eldar Dark Reapers who needed it badly.  Ideally I will have the forces used in the first 2-3 scenarios all fully painted to a fair standard if possible.  And the primer I used on these Reapers came out terrible.
 Being unhappy with the Farm above I look into reasonably priced terrain kits.  Plast Craft ColorED seems to be the best choice for price and performance though many reviews online complain of only one side being printed.  Meaning that to make the Barn a nice farmhouse I need to chop up that flooring bit and do some painting and cutting.  

A different store had different bits available.  And this ruin kit looks PERFECT.  A blasted out multilevel building will make for a great wrecked farmhouse and could provide for many future games to be played with it.  And at best I can just give a quick wash or spraypaint to the interior walls and it will serve nicely!  I still need some fences appropriate for the weathered desert and maybe a hill but I have at least 2 more weeks to prepare if not more so can support my local game stores and see what they have to offer in those regards.

  So this is where I currently stand.  I have my centerpiece terrain on it's way here, all the miniatures built and their army lists printed up, and a basic outline of my scenario conversion in my head when I get time to write it up and print it out.

Heck, I even have the forces and basic concept of the next scenario in the pile set to go:
Hmm seems like the next one involves vehicles including transport rules...

  Let's see if this goes anywhere!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

[Operation Game Collection] Retrogames Collection Update 2018: Pre Crash Consoles


 Yes it has been a while since my last post nobody really cared about.  But I am busy and yall get what you pay for.  (Nothing.)  But I am still collecting here and there when I find things and they are cheap.  Or I am just bored and drive 30-60 minutes each direction to a retrogame shop for the hell of it or because it is damn hot outside and my car has AC.  (I may have working ACs in my house but pulling them out, putting them in a window that fits, sealing them, and then finding a plug it can sit in and not cause a fuse to blow is too much work.  And I save on my electric bill while building character.

  But one thing I am finding out is my old way of listing my owned games and showing off my collection is both inefficient and a pain in the ass.  If I try to just show the spines of my boxed titles and the titles on cartridges that are nice enough to list what is on them I can fit a TON more in a smaller image.  Then throw the images on my Android phone not being used as a phone in a gallery titled COLLECTION PHOTOS and I have a handy mostly easy to use reference of what idiotic nonsense I don't really have the time, money, or space for.  So I don't rebuy games but don't miss one in wondering if I already own it.  Or have to carry around print out checklists or the like.

  So I share with all of you my images of my dorky buys and get to see what I have, reorganize them to not be some near unfindable mess, clean em up where needed, and make my collection of silliness more user friendly.

(And then uhh... want to buy MORE OF IT thanks to these things.  Yay.  On the upside I am very good about bills and stuff.  I don't really have any debts to speak of and am a cheap SOB.)

I am going to show the images of my collection and then talk a little about 3-5 games I am sort of hunting for the platform in question.  Simple eh?  They are certainly not the only games I want but some of them.

Let us start with the first major game console anybody cared about and my first, the Atari 2600:
(As always click the image for larger, and don't complain about my mediocre photography.)
 My boxed titles and my titles with manuals.

 My loose carts, most of which I got back in the day from eBay with whatever machine I got.  (The Atari 7800.)

 Manuals I have come across for games I do not even own yet but manuals are kind of hard to come by as many kids and even adults never kept good care of their games.  And especially in the Pre Crash era you almost were required to have the damned things just to figure out how to play the damn things!
 And a sub theme I collect, Imagic.  Games I have loose, and the manuals next to them.

 Lately there has been cheap and easy ways to get the documentation for some games thanks to these Plug and Play units.  Why they have made their docs a separate book to buy I don't really know but it is nice and handy.  

And one of the games covered from the later Tramiel era of Atari.  (Also one that fits on a left and right two page spread.)  This book is a mix of manual and short history lesson on the games.  Which is kind of nice really.

Now the 3-5 Hunt:

Adventures of Tron (I had it as a kid and it was kinda fun!)
Dragonstomper (One of the first console RPGs.  It is a cassette game that requires the Starpath Supercharger device.)
Frankenstein's Monster (Its FRANKENSTEIN.  That's cool!)
Sprint Master ( It looks kind of fun and I like those sorts of old school top down racing games.)
GI Joe Cobra Strike (Always wanted it as a kid and I have the manual after all!)

Shall we continue on with the 2600's competitor the Intellivision?  Yeah we shall.

 My Imagic collection on the Inty!  I am missing 3 games and the box for Dracula to have every title they released on the platform.  See unlike 2600 people Intellivision owners seemed to care more about keeping their games boxed and complete.  Note I am not listing Imagic games in the Hunt bits below because I want them all so its kind of cheating.

It is hard to tell but that is Golf loose but complete in the top right corner with some catalogs.

Pretty much most of this collection came with my Intellivision when I got it off eBay in the late 90s/early 00s.  Otherwise there wouldn't be a lot of the sports games.  Especially since in the Pre Crash days many games required two players!  MADNESS.  NOT SHOWN:  Empire Strikes Back because it is with most of my other Star Wars videogames for yet another collection post.

The 3-5 Hunt:

Masters of the Universe: Power of He Man (I quite liked the 2600 port back in the day and it is much better here.)
Thunder Castle (I really like it on the various anthology collections I have and would like to have my own copy.)
Thin Ice (You are an ice skating penguin and its pretty good.  I love Penguins almost as much as Sharks.  Almost.)
Shark! Shark!  (See above.  Except sharks.  Its a good game already and its got Sharkies.)
Tron Deadly Discs (It is Tron and I like Tron.  Also I remember the Aquarius port was pretty good really.)

Now we move swiftly and shortly to the Atari 5200 which is like my beloved 8 bit Atari computers only with terrible and unreliable hardware on nearly every front.

 My loose carts.

My with manual and boxed ones.  Given how some games could come with overlays that almost nobody kept I cannot say they are complete with 100% certainty.  Or really CARE as many I later on replaced with their 8 bit computer cousins.  Or use owning this version as an excuse to just download the A8bit versions for my SD Card drive.  (In some cases the 5200 games got dumped and hacked back in the day to be played on the A8bits when they didn't get an actual home release.)

The 3-5 Hunt:

Adventure II (An Atari Age home brew game that looks really good.)
Jr. Pac Man (Jr Pac Man is pretty rad and again, if it doesn't have a legit port for the A8s it TOTALLY COUNTS AS ME BEING LEGITIMATELY ALLOWED TO PLAY IT RIGHT?)
Kangaroo: (See above.)

Yes the 5200 is kind of butt and a pain in the ass console.  Not a lot I want and what little I do is mostly because then Atari 8 Bit Computer.

The system I forgot to add because I don't actually own the system yet.  Plus the controller kind of sucks.  But I am a weirdo who is fine with emulation but really prefers to own the games legitimately.
Not exactly the most amazing of collections but its a somewhat uncommon system mostly made up of arcade ports and usually the more obscure ones.  But it has a good homebrew scene, albeit one that seems obsessed with porting and remaking existing games on it using a stupidly hard to get fan made system booster you have to basically spend a 100 dollars on and get on waiting lists for.  To play MSX ports and arcade games.  That you can play the legitimate arcade game of.  Yeah I don't get it either.

The 3-5 Hunt:

H.E.R.O. (The best version of one of the best Activision games.)
Antarctic Adventure (Its a game about Penguins!)
Pepper II (It is spoken about highly.)

But let us end with the 84 and then 86 BECAUSE OH CRAP NINTENDO IS KILLING US released Atari 7800 which is arguably a Pre Crash system but only sort of.  But close enough really.

Sadly the two loose carts are manual free right now but there are places to get them from besides just downloading a PDF which just isn't the same.

The 3-5 Hunt:

Alien Brigade (It looks like a pretty fun light gun game.  Apparently its pricey though.)
Bentley Bear's Crystal Quest (Another Atari Age homebrew joint.  Plus I like platformers and Crystal Castles is a personal favorite of mine.)
Midnight Mutants (Its an action adventure.  WHERE YOU HELP OUT GRANDPA MUNSTER.)
Ninja Golf (It is both videogame golf which I quite like.  Plus its hilariously stupid as they add in side scrolling Ninja antics.)
Super Circus Atari Age (Yet another Atari Age homebrew as AA tends to keep their stuff in some sort of print and it is like an improved version of the pretty fun Circus Atari from the 2600.)

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT!  All of my classic console titles I own a physical copy of collated into a nice suite of images with a fair bit of titles I am searching for.  Yeah in a lot of cases I can play these on anthologies or Plug and Plays but I like owning original copies even if I don't own the system or would much rathe just play in an emulator.  

I hope to continue this series but what to cover next?  Non PC and A8 bit computers?  8 bit portables?  NES and SMS?  (Yes my computer ANTHOLOGIES OF INTEREST is still coming.  I in fact had to move all of them off the storage tub my 5200 stuff is in to do this post.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

[Retrocomputing: Why Bother?] Machalla IIsi: The Return of the Jederr... 68030 Part 3: I Got 256 Colors But a Retr0bright Ain't One

Can I be updating this fast?  Well I have a lot to get through over the last few weeks.

 While the Floppy Emu guy couldn't help me with my old device he gave me 30% off code for a new one and info on what I might do to fix the broken one.  (It involves surface mount soldering 20 pins in less than a pinky fingernail's space square.  Uhhhh...)

 This one requires me to buy a new MicroSD card as it doesn't use normal SDs.  Oh well that is only like 10 bucks with tax.  The new one even has a new interface cable with a resistor on it.  So perhaps this spicy boy is much more reliable in all the ways?

 I also got myself a nice padded swivel stool that given my current Mac IIsi location I don't actually need but it was only 30 bucks and as I have TurboDuo and Mac IIsi soldering to do in the VERY near future it will come in handy for lots of soldering.

 Thank goodness it works.  Seems to be a lot clearer of a display over the older one though it doesn't quite fit in the old acrylic case.  I need to do some more sanding on it.  Also I had a 1 gig image for a Color Macintosh 7.5.5 OS made so I can switch between OSes whenever I need to.

 Sadly a few things need to be done before I can update the 6.0.7 to 6.0.8.  Gotta made the Floppy Emu the Startup Drive for one thing, and as the install wants floppy disks I need to use DISK MODE.

 So put the two disks the update needs as images, go to floppy mode, and away we go with much swapping.

 But while I am in 7.5.5 might as well check out my performance.  Seems faster than 6.0.7 even though I have Extensions and a super RAM hungry OS in 7.5.5.

 But it is overall more better in spite of a roughly three times as long boot up.  (Its like 30 seconds to boot up 6.0.8.)

 The hard disk is so frigging TINY on the machine I cannot really make it 7.5.5 without having like zero space on it.

 6.0.8 has a lower power than 7.5.5.  I am sure there is an explanation for these shenanigans but.. is it just the way this diagnostic program works?   Coding of the OS is just designed more around the 68030 CPUs?  Extensions have some support that makes it snappier?  

Well I can play Gauntlet in color and it is cool and all but it uses a NumPad or similar suite of keys and thus doesn't control all that well.  Plus I have Gauntlet on multiple arcade collections that controls better.  Was fun to try it out.  (In general I am trying to keep the games I play as ones that are Freeware or that I own in some legit format.  Even if the odds of any 68000 era Macintosh game or port getting rereleased or put on any sort of collection or even acknowledged to have been made is like LOL NO.)

 System 6.0.8 practically sips RAM.  7.5.5 uses around 3-4 times as much.  So until more RAM arrives this works better.  

 Plus older games might be happier in an older OS so it is also good for compatibility issues that might poke up.

 I decide 6.0.8 doesn't need Multifinder which is a sort of multitasking that is on automatically in later OSes but in 6 it is optional.

 It gives me some speed.  Which is a nice thing.

 Being faster is better!  (For many things but not all wink wink nudge nudge.)

 I take all of those boring ass productivity programs off of the main hard disk because this one game is 21 megabytes in size more or less.  

 Also large is my keyboard.  My PC keyboard is microscopic in comparison.  And has a lovely click.  Long term I plan on getting a USB to ADB adaptor for convenience, space, and comfort of using modern input devices.

 I can switch mice too!  I do however use a Magic Eraser to clean off the Apple mouse and keyboard tops to make them cleaner.  

 While this RAM is 55 bucks or so it is 64 megabytes of it.  And as the Commodore has shown us, 64 IS A GOOD NUMBER.  Also it is the maximum this machine can handle.

 No real performance difference in 6 but it is nice to have the RAM to cram when I slam into the jam.

 Or for System 7.5.5 who wants to hog it,

 But we get all sorts of NEW TOOLS and things like an on screen clock!

 And color in our icons!  That rarely matter as I tend to go with file name lists because my brain likes it that way!

 But now no real performance change.  However some may have noticed the hard disk seems faster but its not really since it is a floppy drive port.  So it is loading slower but when it is on it's own doing stuff it is a nice fast SD card over a mechanical hard disk from 1990.  

Now I can play the overall superior Macintosh port of Wolf 3d I have owned since the mid 90s and my Id Anthology collection was teasing me with.  However it has to be in a tiny window and even music turned off to be remotely playable and even then it isn't running at proper speed.

 But we have an automap!  And WASD controls if I set it up.   Sadly can't mouselook as it won't let you turn and strafe together.  But I can turn and shoot with the mouse or just shoot and use the keyboard to strafe.

Well ok Wolf 3d I will try this NO EXTENSIONS mode...

 It... actually makes it SLOWER.  Yeah.  Wow.  So some of those extensions make the machine FASTER.  Which ones I do not know and I don't care too much outside of idle curiosity.  I do have multiple books to look through however.  Perhaps I shall discover the terrible secret of OS 7 within them?

Going back to 6.0.8 on the main drive for now.  Strangely now the disk cache won't go up as high as it did but it shouldn't matter too much.

   So now my rig is working and I can play some RPGs and other less taxing software but at a much more satisfying speed and sometimes in COLOR compared to the Mac Plus.  BUT WE AREN'T DONE YET.   

(I haven't wasted enough money like a dumb ass.  Not by a long shot!)

  So what is next?  The two main needs are an SD2SCSI drive with possibly a case and an external interface unless I just choose to strip out the internal drive entirely, and a Clock Crystal that will bring the machine to it's actual potential that Apple (as was their wont) nerfed so it wouldn't compete with the IIci which is an overall more capable albeit larger and uglier machine.
  After those two things I need to replace capacitors, repaint the case, and possibly get a NuBus Adaptor Card which would allow for more capable video output from said NuBus cards.  The Adaptor itself also can have a Math Coprocessor in it but they tend to not work with the speed boost from a faster clock crystal.

  But even now I have a very capable machine for late 80s and early 90s games.  Pretty much anything of a non action bent from 1985-1993 is fully playable outside of a handful of games that only will autoboot and have no frame limiter.   Most action games will be fine especially if I take advantage of multicolor modes to slow the ones down that just let the CPU dictate game speed.

  We are doing fine but WE MUST GO BEYOND.   Getting the rig to maximum potential is almost half the fun..    It is just the other half is a colossal time and money waste....


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