Friday, June 28, 2013

Maurice: The assault on New Paperton

This was the 3rd or fourth run of Maurice. We had to forgo the usual setup because of time constraints (show up on time!), and I just ended up doing the old town defense. As our metal forces aren't done I used my paper armies once again.
The attacker spent most of the game on their side of the table. There was a brief cavalry skirmish on the flank, but the defenders (me) got the best of them. This was at the cost of a lot of cards. The horses were quite a distance away. In Maurice you have to "pay" in card value equal to the distance to activate a force. They were 16 spans away, so 16 card points had to be used. Ouch! In the end the gamble was worth it.
The gunnery duel in the center was the longest I've seen. The defender's gun were able to destroy two attacking units. Later, when the attacker did come, those gun crews were wiped out.
In the end, the cards were running out, and the attackers were way down on Morale.
We're still learning. This game requires a switch in thinking, different from other wargames rules. You have to know when to commit and where. Careful planning ahead is essential, but you still have to know when to exploit a breakthrough. I think it gives a fantastic simulation of the period.
Last night's pairing:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fistful of Lead now available on Wargames Vault

Buy it here. Still just $6! Expanded campaign rules and Black Powder variant coming soon.
Also still available thru Wargame Downloads.

UPDATE: Now #13 and climbing on hottest sellers.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Modern Africa

Saturday was a playtest. Greg & Zombie J brought over their troops, and together with the ones I painted 15 years ago, but have never seen battle we tried a stripped down version Tomorrow's War.
Greg and I took the forces of President for Life Mdonga, while J and his precious boy soldiers attacked trying to capture him while he visited his mistress.
By stripped down down version of the rules I mean we took out a lot of the seemingly endless counter TW has. I don't really need to know a guy is lightly wounded, is he combat effective or not? We also used whole stands instead of single minis.

Presidential forces won initiative and I immediately rolled up the only heavy on the board, a Panhard armored vehicle packing a 105. Sounds good, but not as effective as an antipersonnel weapon. I caused a few casualties, but as we soon learned, at the end of the turn you roll of the see if casualties are really casualties. It became really tough to kill. (Rule fix #1, no medic rolls except for Elites).
TW uses an Action/Reaction roll. So, when my militia tried to crest a hill, they were reacted to by J's Regulars and fired upon. Back over the hill boys. They did this twice.
Meanwhile my Elites  (presidential Guard) were able to secure the building across from the President. It was too late, the boys got him. We'd spend the rest of the game in house to house street fighting.
HMG rules the street

The Boys in the Hood
Over all, I like the mechanics and understand why this=this. I seems to give a pretty good representation of modern warfare (not being a soldier of any kind). But, is it right for our big group. Maybe not. The Action/Reaction mechanic might throw some off. And we always have to balance, "can we get this done in 3 hours?"
I may have to start enforcing the "games begin at 6pm" rule again.
We are still going to try a few other sets to find the right fit.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A storm of arrows- Campaign for the Kingdom

Last night we continued our Campaign for the Kingdom. Duke Ulric of Kragg, the Claimant to the throne, had finally cornered the wily Horace, Duke of Dunharrow. They met on a mostly open field, marred by a small area of broken ground.
Both forces moved slowly toward each at first. But, then as it always happens, a spooked horse, or a misheard shout triggered sporatic charging. The trim lines broke apart. Units became separated. The slow foot knights and pikes left behind.
The forces face each other

Once the lines got close, the arrows were loosed. Let me stop here. In Flower of Chivalry, the system we have used for years, two things have been constant:
1) Even if one side takes the lead, the other side always catches up and we have a very close game. Most games decided by one or two units loss.
2) Bows are good at softening up the enemy. They usually get 1 at most 2, shots before having to dive into the melee where they usually get the worst of it. Bows are not battle deciders.
This was not the case last night.
The forces of Duke Horace completely rolled over Ulric's. I mean, it wasn't even close. Ulric lost half his forces, 9 units, to Horace's 2. Chief killers were the bows. They either drove off the enemy, in the case of Baron Lionel holding the left of Horace's line, his bows drove two enemy units completely off the field (which almost never happens) and killed 2 others. One in melee.
The aftermath was predictable. Ulric, defeated, was brought before Horace, who promptly had Ulric's head.
Lionel cheers his men forward.
Duke Horace was now Claimant to the throne. Lionel, Baron of Stonekeep had been publicly chastised by Horace for suffering the only losses of the day. His valiant archers. An angry Lionel returned to Stonekeep, there to plot his revenge.....
The game was over so quick (hour and a half) it was still daylight out, so we played a game of "Popular Front", a great little boardgame of the Spanish Civil War. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pulp Alley: Perilous Islands

I loves me some Pulp Alley. So much so I painted 8 Leagues. So, I as you may guess I was very excited to receive my pdf version (hard copy to follow), via email. Haven't read yet, but a quick perusal looks very promising.
Perilous Island contains new perks and abilities, including "weird" ones to bring in the supernatural elements, dangers, and cards. It also has an entire campaign set on, you guessed it, Perilous Island.
Can't wait for the likes of Red Raptor, Wu Fang, Grey Ghost and others to trek its jungle vastness.
On an related note I've been working on my own sequel of sorts. For many years, fans of Fistful of Lead have asked for a campaign system for the game. I have held off mainly because every commercial campaign system I have played breaks down quickly. One side, after a couple of victories gets so far ahead of everyone else they're unstoppable. On the flip side, players who lose a couple game in a row, end up so chewed up, they don't stand a chance, and quickly lose interest.
Most campaign systems also require a way to build teams, warbands, gangs. This requires a points system. Points systems never work. Period. This has been my question especially since Fistful of lead doesn't use stats or abilities. A guy is a guy.
I may have found a way around it. No points, other than campaign or reputation points players build up to be spent along the way. I'm trying to prevent super teams. There will be a host of scenarios players can do, each leading to a final showdown of sorts.
Cross your fingers.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Father's Day gift

to me, from me.
I had some Paypal money saved up from sales of Fistful of Lead. I usually use this money to buy stuff I normally won't get out of pocket. I've been looking for a largish Fantasy skirmish set of rules for our Thursday night games, and from several reviews decided to spend my "free money" on Fanticide from Alien Dungeon.
I'll start out by saying from my research I went into this purchase knowing I would not be using Fanticide's background world Nowhere, and certainly not their goofy warbands (flying monkeys, eyeball creatures, etc). But, the mechanics sounded right for what I need.
The production value of the book is nice. Hard backed, good photos. But almost too much. Large type and big photos seem to be used as filler. The book could be half the size it is. The rules themselves don't take up that much space, which is fine with me, I need quick rules. But then the rest of the book is made up of background stuff, as I mentioned before, wasn't the draw for me.
The actual rules are fairly simple. Each unit or Homicide Squad (dumb) gets a cue card that is shuffled into a deck for card driven activation. Leaders get extra cards so a unit, could in theory, move more than once. You can add in events to the deck to make things interesting.You have leaders, shooty guys, tough guys, regulars, monsterous thing, tiny pests, etc. You have stats for all called Virtues and Vices. Give (attack) and Take (defense). Basically roll a d10, added to your Give (again dumb) and conpare to your opponents Take + d10. Beat them by more than their Soul (wounds) and they are dead. Beat them by less and they are stunned.
Simple unit to unit battles. Should go quickly even with a large group. But, nothing that hasn't been done before. Its actually really close to what I was planning myself for some rules.
They have premade warbands and rules for making your own, but they are really generic. So, alot of work to be done on that front with a vague points system that I could easily screw up.
For me, even as "free money", $55 was alot to spend for very simplified rules. In playing, I'm sure I'll get some depth I don't see in the read thru. I realize these rules were probably written to drive sales of the minis. Just not interested.
Look for AAR in the future.

Friday, June 14, 2013


As in the quick one pager rules FUBAR, but I'm sure one side felt that way last night.
I have all these great Mechwarrior minis I repainted. We've used various systems, but as I have mentioned before, we have 6-8 players every Thursday and about 3 hours to get a game done. As a result, most of rules need to quick and dirty and most of all, fun.

Chaos on the battlefield
I have read the FUBAR rules several times. They, for the most part, fit on one page. Units basically have a number they need to roll to activate, with better troops needing 3s & 4s, crap troops higher. One complaint I have read about the rules is that some units spend the whole game sitting around because they missed their activation. You do get put on a type of overwatch if you fail, but I instituted that if an enemy was outside 24" you were allowed a +1 to your activation score.
Every unit has a shoot number and rolls "x" amount of dice depending on the weapon, then the target rolls saves. Pretty simple.
Initiative became the game winner. A side held initiative until it failed an activation. Then the other side gets its, etc. We had a bit of a turkey shoot when the Union forces kept activating and began blowing holes in the League's line.
Infantry seek cover after their APC is blown up
It was fairly one sided. Duke MIlo's forces destroyed the rebels pretty handily. But, I think it still worked. We had 30+ units on the table and finished in under 2 hours. I made cards for each unit which made it easy to remember who moved by flipping them over, and we never had to look at charts. There are some interesting infantry rules that I won't go into, but our ground pounders never really engaged until the end. I have to paint some more.
I'd like to give FUBAR a whirl with 15mm sci-fi, but in the mean time I have some modern African troops to finish for next week.

and I saw the real deal on the way into work!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Maurice: 10mm troops

Doing duble duty for both Maurice and Might & Reason, Old Glory Marlburians. A breeze to paint. My only quibble is the bases are just a hair wider than 25mm, so you have to clip them.
Notice the grenadier holding the place of honor on the unit's right.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Victory Decision: the Crossroads

We had a fun game of Victory Decision last night. The scene was a strategic crossroads. The Germans already had a recon team there, and the Americans a rifle squad. Each turn a new until would enter the board of the players' choosing.
Off the bat, the Germans got hammered. They couldn't get in position without being forced back. In VicDec you take suppression for just being fired at, plus one for every casualty. As soon as a unit has as many suppressions as miniatures, it is shaken and forced to retreat. A Shaken unit may only move or Regroup until its unshaken.

The tanks from both sides came on the board soon. A Panzer IV quickly dispatched a Sherman, but was in turn taken out by another carrying a 76mm.
The Krauts spent most of the time on their heals, never quite able to counterattack. It was still fun and worth more playing.
The mins and very cool paper terrain and more picks by John.
I have played ALOT of WW2 games. This has been the only one I've liked. It abstracts what needs to be but keeps the feeling of small unit actions. The only I haven't liked is the activation phase. It works with 2 players on a small scale, but bogs down with lots of players and unit. Agis has posted that on the upcoming SciFi version he has a new, better activation sequence. Can't wait to try it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

He's dead, Jim.

I need lots of hit markers for Hail Caesar/Pike and Shot. I toyed with using those cool spinny dials, but with amount I might potentially need, and fact they're kinda hard to read on an 8x6 table, I made my own.
I just cut a frame from heavy mount board to snuggly grasp the die, glued to base and stuck a dead guy on.
He's a little too late for the Italian Wars, but he'll work.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Basement-Con: Friday and Saturday

Night 2 of Basement-Com saw the clash of two fantasy armies. The Empire teamed up with the elves to take on an Orc horde (is there any other kind?) using Hail Caesar. The game and minis were provided by Lead Addict, who I think used every piece of terrain I own to simulate the foothills being fought over.
We had a core set of units we had to use, but could then add from a pool to a max of 20 units a side. As the elves, I decided to go heavy into cav and shooties, while the Empire loaded up the bang-bangs.
I stacked the horse on the left flank and did what I do best, CHARGE! We smacked into Minotaurs and Trolls and despite the monsters being "Big" managed to drive them off, then in a second charge route them. We units were blown, but light cavalry riding in reserve filled the gap. This little skirmish showed the importance of supports.

Meanwhile in the center, the Imperials were getting slammed. They were just barely holding the farmstead and the tower, the objectives of the game. Due to poor initial placement by me, I wasn't able to support being across a wide river.
The center finally broke and fell back. The farmhouse was close to falling, but from across the river came the Treants. Like a scene out of the Two Towers, they smashed into the goblinoid lines. These casualties caused the orcs in the center to break. It was over.
Great game. Hail Caesar is perfect for Fantasy.
Speaking of Caesar, Saturday afternoon was spent playing Commands and Colors ancients. I have played C&C many times at our local con using the lovely mini collection from Cluck Amok, but never played withe the blocks in my own home.
The Romans faced the Carthaginians in the battle right after Cannae. Carthage was trying the old Double Envelopment again, but the Romans were ready this time. It looked like an easy Roman victory, but just like every C&C game I've played, it came down to wire with one unit a side deciding the outcome. Carthaginian victory!
It was a good weekend. Although my beer horde has seen better days.