Thursday, 28 June 2012

Back a la Brush

Baton down your hatches I've actually painted paint to something :)

No painting points but more progress than I've made in several months as I've finally settled on the scheme for my DW French Fleet. As is often the case the scheme morphed a touch as I was applying it. Originally I wasn't looking at a camo scheme but it just looked to plain otherwise whilst tricholore smoke stacks suddenly became too busy.

Anyway, wash and highlight is still required before I can rack any points but I'm happy that this particualr old girl seems to exhibit the certain gallic flair that I was looking for.

Bon chance!

Friday, 22 June 2012

This is NOT Sparta!

How much for a Finecast Orc Shaman!!!
Hello people, 300th post don't you know and an apt time for one of those retro/intro-spective posts that I'm sure we all enjoy reading all so much :)

As I have bemoaned previously and my recent posts and lack of painting points demonstrates over the last couple of months I have been playing but not playing.

This has been due to LIFE and as mentioned I've not really minded up til now but a probable 4th month without a painting point has arrived.

Along with a few other events I have felt the need to further define my more focused (+ve spin) / restricted (-ve spin) hobby goals. The recent GW price rise and 40K froth has finally killed any lingering desires to return to "the good old days" as they've not existed for sometime taking with them any gaming that's not skirmish. Even the alternatively retro pull of 15mm Sci-Fi has finally been designated ILLOGICAL :(
Aren't you a little short for an Uruk Hai?

That however is where the bad news ends :)

I've REALLY got into SAGA recently and not just because I've been winning but because I've finally caught onto it's full scope thanks to Rich's Fantasy style campaign down at the club.

My gratitude Mr Jones!

So much so in fact that I've finally bitten the bullet and picked up 44 Mordor Orcs and 20 Uruk-Hai via E-Bay for the princely sum of £35. A couple of dozen more Uruk-Hai scouts may join them along with a couple of characters but that will be it.
Beards! Dozens of them!!
Re-based onto tuppences this will give me everything I need to play any faction I like and keep the Fantasy angle covered with what I'm happy will be a good degree of "authenticity".

Watching The Return of the King again the other week I remembered how much I like the feel and background of the force, painted and sold previously, and how much I've enjoyed playing with them.

With sabots at the reading they can also work for Impetus, Fantasy or otherwise, as a few of us occasionally threaten.
Another shout-out to Mr Jones for my recent introduction to Muskets and Tomahawks, upon which I have recently blogged lyrical, which will so easily reclaim St Peytersburg from it's stalled project status. Smiles all round.

With my birthday a mere fortnight away I've even been brave enough to request both rulesets and some Perry Indians from my nearest and / or dearest :)

That covers those bases but what about the traditional indulgence of ones present to oneself?

Dystopian Wars still lurks offshore and though becalmed I have 90% of what I need / want, other than the application of paint. A campaign will appear at the club at some point. One way or the other games WILL be played. I digress.
Two choices seem to remain. Further investment in Warhammer Invasion or something completely different and a $100 Kickstarter investment in to Zombicide. Once again I've blogged about both.

WI is the "safe" option. A game that I do and will continue to play and enjoy giving me what I actually want from GW, feel and fluff, in a way that their products can't. Almost a no-brainer, an expansion on a current vice that doesn't stretched my more focused / restricted TIME resource.

Zombicide however is a new format for me in a lot of ways and something of a shot in the dark. Multi-use comes as it would provide most of what I need for modern day St Peytersburg but how long would it sit about for, a la Space-Hulk though does that matter?

So SAGA plus Muskets and Tomahawks ably supported by Warhammer Invasion. Just how focused do I want / need to be? Opinions welcome :)

Monday, 18 June 2012

Give Fire!!

Hello people.

After too many abortive attempts, my fault entirely, Rich dropped round Thursday night and, suitably equipped with tea and biscuits, ran me through a game of Muskets and Tomahawks. As usual I'm not going to provide and in-depth review but link you to that of Mike Hobbs who has already done so and particularly well at that. I am however going to provide you with my more impressionistic approach.

I'd heard lots of good things about T&M, and not just from Rich. I was aware of it's randomly drawn card activation system, always one I've liked, and its Sideplots adding plenty of extra pith to the scenarios.

Taking the Brits I rolled up a Scout mission, needing to visit each quarter of the board and then exit, whilst Rich's French rolled up Slaughter, charged with objectionable task of wiping out a local farmstead thought to be less than keen on frogslegs.

Fortuitously I had already laid out one of St Peyetrsburg's outlying farmsteads with civilians and livestock in attendance so with fresh brews to hand the game commenced.
A few French activation cards came up first and Rich wasted no time in marching straight towards it hollering all the way. The locals quickly took flight though the farmers wife insisted on fetching her prize china first whilst Grandad marshaled the kids to drive the pigs.
The British and their Indian allies arrive by line and blind marker respectively. Marching to the sounds of commotion their scouting mission quickly becomes one of rescue. No Jonny Foreigner will be allowed to sully the King's new territories!
Advancing in the British line deliberately draw the fire of their French counterparts. The Frog militia had already set about their grisly work but a strong Redcoat volley from their unsighted flank sends them fleeing back into the woods.

Despicable Frog that he so obviously is the French Captain steps away from the line and takes aim at the fleeing back of Sara, the Negro housemaid............and shoots her down in cold blood!
A failed thrust by the Brits Indian allies sees the French Militia chase after them only for them to run into the rifles sights of the Indian sharpshooters. Morale is well modelled within M&T giving regular line plenty of staying power whilst leaving Militia decidedly fickle all through one simple mechanic.
Meanwhile the remaining civilians, and their pigs continue their headlong charge for safety. The British delaying action was working and in fact repulsing the French. Rich was having to take further risks to chase his scenario objectives. With neither sideplot looking likely to be fulfilled, they can modify the scale of any victory, it was turning into winner takes all!

Virtuous as the day is long Captain Horatio Long-Bottom had stood mortified by the casual slaughter of he house-maid and as such determined that the rules of gentlemanly conduct no longer applied.

Continuing to loudly exhort his men to hold their rapidly reducing line, one of his randomly determined traits that had previously held his men fast in the face of the French fusillade, he calmly drew his pistol and shot that dastard Frenchman in the head!

A lucky shot no doubt but one that seemed almost karmic given his actions. As the only French officer the Morale card was now added to the French deck. When it next came up all French units would be subject to an immediate Morale check. Mon Dur!!
Whilst Grandad lead his charges deeper into the woods the Morale came up for Rich causing his remaining Militia to flee the field leaving just a few true born Frenchmen to carry the fight to the hated John Bull.
Said Frenchmen were quickly set upon by the Indian Braves, who despite being outnumbered 2 to 1 routed their foes leaving all but three of their number with a new haircut! Major British victory in the offing one feels!

A quick game played in a few hours there was nothing too difficult to learn but plenty to admire. A simple set of rules that plays well and allows the scenarios and subplots to shine through, I enjoyed it immensely. Post game chatter turned to how well it would work for my St Peytersburg gothic horror setting just using stat and abilities already laid out. The supernatural could be easily run as a third force by either a third player or by scenario / automatic / random very easily.

In short this is a game that WILL motivate me out of my current painting's really that good, give it a go :)

Friday, 15 June 2012

Sing while you're Winning?

And after another extended break I finally return :) I had the whole week off with the Jubilee and didn't manage a single jot or iota of hobby. I did manage to pick up a head-cold though.

Returning to the Enfield Gamers on Tuesday night Charlie was, erm........lucky enough? be facing off across the table for the latest round of the Fantasy SAGA campaign. So it was Viking Orcs versus Anglo-Danish Khemrian you do.

As something slightly different Charlie had taken a Shaman / Liche Priest as one of his units. I have access to one myself but hearthgaurd sword-arms have served me well so far and it was extra rules to learn. Was interested to see how they worked.
Rolling up the river crossing scenario I deployed my main strength of  two units of six hearthgaurd plus my recently skalded Warlord, Gonk, on the right, as an obvious Hammer, with my warriors and levy on the left as an obvious Anvil. No points for subtlety but his name's Gonk and he's an Orc!

Early doors I piled across on the right, spending arm-ring bonuses with abandon, to crash in early and target the Khemri Warlord. Route 1 all the way! My initial foray was quickly nullified by the dice gods but thankfully Charlie's reply was across the board rather than quite so blunt as mine and my HGs weathered the storm.

In all honesty Charlie seemed to get the rub early on, especially with his SAGA dice and seemed to succumb to the temptation of spreading his resources about. It sometime seems that when you have less to work with you're forced to pay more attention to what you're actually doing with it.

Throughout the game as a whole quite a few dice went into his Shaman and, probably because it was a new thing, the return didn't quite seem to be so effective. Surely a case of playing it through a few times.

Generating just 5 SAGA dice myself I spent the first few turns putting everything into my Hammer. Charlie tried slowing me down by using one of his abilities to place extra Fatigue across a couple of my units.

This actually helped me at times as I repeatedly used Frig to burn it off AND gain extra attack dice. Additionally Charlie was spending two SAGA dice where I was spending one. Continuing the Route 1 approach my dice rallied and despite losing a number of Hearth-Gaurd I tore up Charlie's left and hacked down his Warlord in typical Orcish fashion.
As such Charlie was now generating two less SAGA dice and forced into trying to get something from his Shaman. He had chewed through the majority of my HGs but was facing the last few and Gonk with a handful of Levy whilst I transferred the majority of my SAGA dice into my left flank and pushed up the Anvil.
My last couple of HGs could be run by Gonk, for whom they finally fell as the Anvil rolled over the final Khemri Warrior and the Shaman, though not without cost. Generating ZERO SAGA dice and a single Khemri levy remaining my own scum-horde brought proceedings to a close with a single volley.

Despite wiping Charlie out it was a close run thing, losing 3 points of troops myself including all of my H-G's and their arm-rings which are now lost to me permanently. I honestly feel that a few dice here or there could have made a huge difference to the result. I had less SAGA dice and they weren't rolling nearly as well as Charlie's but my extremely focused use of them along with that necessary touch of luck saw me through......but not by much!

Gonk however simply doesn't care as he's attained such status amongst the Skalds that they're already writing him into legend. There's just one attain such status he must find himself a glorious death next time out.

Ian's Norse Dwarves and Stewart's Welsh Goblins have also reached similar status. Ian and I are keen to give it a go (it's the shield-biting bit I think!) so that looks like a match-up. Stewart has decided to retire into grace and comfort............well he IS Welsh!! :) 

Friday, 1 June 2012

Pride and Predjudice

Hello people and welcome to another delayed after-action battle report.

Monday night Stewart dropped primarily so that I could make up my missed first round of the club's Warhammer Invasion campaign and secondarily so that he could take up my previously blogged intention to play a proper game of Dwarf Kings Hold without being an arse.

Primary task completed, I just about won the three game round thonged in the first, squeeked the second and romped the third, I was already in a better frame of mind and with a positive mindset, thanks to Project Pandora, I settled in to a cup of tea and opened my mind a little.

Based on the same set of mechanics as Pandora the game played very similarly, very much as expected.

A similar, but blindly drawn, token activation sequence provides an element of resource management as well as the need to co-ordinate your forces whilst pre-empting you opponent. Opposed dice rolls for combat also means that both players remaining active throughout despite the relatively IGO-UGO turn structure.

The basic mechanics are VERY simple, reminds me of LOTR in that respect, but racial special abilities and effects give greater variation than just the statline and give the Dwarves and Undead their relevant flavour.
Playing a couple of scenarios through, taking each side in turn, results were genuinely varied effected by tactics as much as the vagaries of the dice. Identification and control of various choke-points throughout the floor-plan add an element of  urgency and tension to the game as well as the scenario.

Use of fighting arcs and facings can be critical and can seem a little technical at times but not overly "rulesy", more efficient use of the rules which is unavoidable with any system.
All of these comments are just as applicable to Project Pandora and I've found all of the scenarios I've played to be well constructed and balanced. I do feel that both games tread a fine line in that respect and that it might not be so easy to construct your own scenarios. Thankfully Mantic are doing a good job of providing supplements along with additional troop types to spice up your games.

So, another good fun "little" game from Mantic. But one that deserves to be treated with respect!