Shocking Tales Of Madness and... Cardboard?!?

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Cherno
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Shocking Tales Of Madness and... Cardboard?!?

Post by Cherno » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:19 pm

***Note: This has been posted on the Yog-Sothoth board before***
*** I hope this is the right place to post this, it more a project presentation than a strict review but of course it also serves to give insight into the Strange Aeons miniature skirmish game :cthulhu2: ***

Hello everybody,

I just found this nice forum and as a first post, I'd like to present you a little project of mine that I started last year. I made a similar thread back then on the Lead Adventure Game forum which I frequent, so I'm basically just gonna copy and paste my project report from the original thread to this one.

What is this about, anyway (the TL;DR version)?

There's this tabletop skirmish game called Strange Aeons, published by Uncle Mike's Worldwide, a small publisher from Canada. Players control a small team of Investigators as part of a secret government organization that goes by the name of "Threshold", seeing as these agents stand at the threashold of our reality and it's their job to ensure no eldritch abominations cross it over into our world.

The other player is called the Lurker, he or she controls the evil forces that try to resurrect ancient gods, blasphemous monsters or just a band of madmen that wreak havok in the countryside.

Between sessions, the Threshold player can buy new equipment for his characters and possibly incerase their stats, so there's an RPG aspect to it all.

The game has seen a couple of expansions in different formats, and while it is no direct adaption of the Cthulhu Mythos, it is basically Lovecraft's workd without any specific names. Most monsters a clear copies of the ones we know from HPL's stories, the game is set in the 1920s (but could be played in any other era too), and the overall concept has that Mythos vibe to it, what with the evil cults bent on world domination (or destruction), ancient horrors, and a small team of investigators trying to hold off the encroaching darkness while being constantly at risk of losing their sanity (yes, the game has a (in)sanity mechanic).

For those interested, here are some misc links:

The original LAF thread
http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=43781.45

The "beta" version of this project
The%20]http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=40649.0

Main thread for my other cardboard projects
Main%20thread%20for%20my%20other%20cardboard%20projects%20]http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=40650.0[/url]



So much about the game, here's what I did to bring it to the table:

***

After three days and countless sheets of paper and cardboard, I can finally present you my Strange Aeons project. It all started one year ago when I first found out about Strange Aeons and I started building some cardboard Standees. As you can see on the photos below, the first version of the Standees are immediately recognizable, having integral bases and no outline. It wasn't until one week ago when I actually got the Strange Aeons rulebook and started on this project in earnest.

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The Standees, aside from those old ones (no pun intended) made from sprites from the computer game Blood, were made possible with the help of Anatoli and some other dude I forgot the name of :D

However, the biggest part was building terrain. I had the "Battlefield in a box" approach in mind when starting this project: All elements should fit in a small box. That means larger features like buildings have to be collapsible and everything will be made of paper/cardboard so they fit stylistically with each other and with the Standees, and so they can just be carelessly thrown into their storage box after play without worrying about paint scratches or parts breaking.

I decided I wanted to have three terrain types for Strange Aeons: Forest, Graveyard and Farmland.

The Forest

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The Forest was the easiest to make because I already had the terrain tiles from my All Things Zombie project.This time, however, I didn't just want printed-on trees and cabins, so I had to actually build those. What I ended up with were trees, bushes and hedges from World Works Games' excellent Hinterland Forest set, logs from Dave Gaffam (they have a 25% summer sale over at RPG.now!) and a cabin I made using TLX templates with custom textures.

This should give a nice selection of terrain I can fill a 2x3 table with easily, providing models with different types of cover.

Game aids

Browsing through the rulebook, I noticed that a player would have to keep a copy of the weapons master list (and extra item, spell etc. lists) ready because weapon and other item stats had no place on the force sheets. So what I did was make my own equipment cards with all info provided; this way whenever a certain item is present the player just has to put it in front of him, no need to look anything up or have more than neccessary on the table.

I made cards for all weapons and extra items, as well as counters for map pieces, ancient and evil tomes, and scrolls, and mounted them to heavy cardboard after printing them on glossy photo paper.

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Here's my little cemetery :)

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The set is of course Wildwood Grove, an older set from WWG still available in their "Vault" line of classic products and highly recommended for Strange Aeons paper scenery!

The small crypt is made in the Terrain LinX style with custom textures from Blood.

The larger one looks actually more like a chapel from it's size and is part of the set. It is collapsible too.

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I use the graves as grave markers or normal scenery. The tombstones can be detached.

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The monolith can also be used as scenery or as a scenario-specific monument.

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The fences were the result of pure chance when I scrounged through my old print-outs of WWG scenery and found two sheets of transparent Wildwood Grove fences in them. I cut them to TLX 6" specs and made some more posts for them, and some free-standing bases.


***

More pictures to come.
Last edited by Cherno on Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cherno
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Re: Shocking Tales Of Madness and... Cardboard?!?

Post by Cherno » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:21 pm

Here are some photos from our first two games. I played as Lurker vs. two Threshold teams.

Some highlights:

Joe Diamond tosses a stick of Dynamite at a Fishman and cultist hiding behind a hedge. Both got caught up in the explosion.

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Later, Joe fumbles his to-hit-roll while trying to throw dynamite at the last Cultist... It didn't end well.

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A cultist armed with a Bolt-Action Rifle takes a shot at Agent Eads and kills him in the first turn. Needless to say, after that incident the Threshold team quickly took greater care while moving about...

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A Fishman, much ridiculed at the start of the game suddenly rushes forward and kills Agent Bale, much to the horror of the Threshold player.

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The same Fishman tries to attack Agent Eads, but the Agent fails his Resolve test and flees! Damn! Stay where you are when I'm trying to eat you!!!

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Overview of the game table from the Lurker side.

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Another Bird's-eye-perspective. This is where I was sitting during both games.

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Cherno
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Re: Shocking Tales Of Madness and... Cardboard?!?

Post by Cherno » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:22 pm

The second game session, featuring the farmland:

Overview

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My buffed Fishman charges forward

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Same situation on the other side of the board...

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Second scenario, "Bodysnatchers" in a cemetary. A Mummy, Ghoul and Zombie attack a Threshold Team.

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One Zombie had just desecrated one of the graves. The rest of the squad was saved by the low walls, thank god for 4+ cover saves [ :)]

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trevlix
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Re: Shocking Tales Of Madness and... Cardboard?!?

Post by trevlix » Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:06 pm

First, wow. Amazing job on the cardboard stuff. Looks awesome!

So, to me, this looks like a persistant version of Mansions of Madness (from FFG). Am I correct in that, or off?
[Trafford: Insanity: 4, Exhaustion: 2]

http://keepingthegame.blogspot.com/


Cherno
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Re: Shocking Tales Of Madness and... Cardboard?!?

Post by Cherno » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:26 pm

Thank you. There are certainly some similarities to Mansion of Madness, however Strange Aeons has no real story if you don't invent one, and as such the scenarios that are played come from a pool of about five, each with a simple goal like destroying all enemies, collecting map pieces, or stop the Lurker from defiling graves. I'd like to create a modification of this game that makes it closer to an outdoor campaign of MoM, it could be like a typical CoC case where the investigators first travel to a normal crime scene where they discover something fishy (heh), get ambushed by Lurker agents, then in the next scenario have to raid the temple of the evil cult that is behind the crime, and finally travel to the hilltop altar where an ancient ritual is taking place that will bring something unimaginably evil into our dimension, with our handful of investigators having to stop the high priest.

One thing I might want to add is that in Strange Aeons, characters can quickly become overpowered if they choose certain item and skill combinations. If you have an agent that has increased Dexterity (higher chance to hit), increased Stamina (harder to wound), plus some heavy armor (even harder to wound) and an Elephant Gun that kill most monster with one shot, the Lurker will have a hard time countering that. Thus, it's best played with a sense of roleplaying involved, and/or the Lurker is more like a CoC Keeper that disregards any point balance when constructing his force and just go for whatever feels right. Also, because the game is D6 based, it's best to keep campaigns short, with about 3-5 scenarios.
The game is meant to be played with two players, both having a team of investigators and then playing two games back-to back, with one player using his Thresholdd team and the other as Lurker, and then switching roles, so that in effect two seperate campaigns are played at the same time. That however isn't for me, our group consists of three players and also I like being the evil guy ;)

Edit: BTW, Uncle Mike's Worldwide has just made all Strange Aeons books and supplements available for download.
http://www.tabletopgamingnews.com/2014/02/05/84104/

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