Friday, January 30, 2015

5 Core: Battle for Meridian Prime, pt. 3

crackle...crackle...."Bravo 2, this Blue Leader, respond."
"Blue Leader, this Bravo 2, over."
"Bravo 2, be advised, the rebels have broken through. They will be approaching your sector very soon. Hold your positions until relieved. I repeat, hold your positions until relieved. The bridges must be held. Sending a squad of Heavies your way. Over."
"We won't need them. Just rebels scum si........", crackle, crackle.
"Bravo 2, please respond! Bravo 2, what's happening?"
"Blue Leader, they have a tank"
This was I third round of games using the Core 5 system. I really like these rules for small unit actions. We've learned a lot along the way. I've been slowly adding things from other supplements and borrowed some ideas from the company level rules for tanks and vehicles. This is still and infantry game at heart, so the vehicles are really a support feature, and not the main part of the game. They proved impressive and fragile at the same time.

The Rebels have won the last two games.  It was time for the Union forces to make a stand. They were given 3 mechs to defend the town. Tough enough to shrug off small arms fire, but not anti-tank or vehicle mounted weapons. They would get reinforcements in the form of some tough-ass, power armored Union Marines if I rolled a "1" on the Event dice.
The Rebels got some troops to bring in later, too. A sniper, and a walking tank.

The first couple of turns were spent getting into position. Several "Scurry" results on the Action dice helped both sides with this. Scurries, are not subject to Reaction fire.
Then, the Union machine gun team opened up from a rooftop. Several Rebels either went down or ran off.
There were short burst of Firefights and some sneaking about, and definitely a lot more death than we have had. Most losses until now have been do to soldiers running off.
At one point, one the mechs got in a beautiful position, and unleashed a flame thrower. Truly a terror weapon. Not only did he cook several rebels, but forced more to run off. But then he got his. The tank used his "laser" to smoke the mech.
Then the tank was in turn, hit by an anti-tank round. BOOM!

n the end, the rebels just couldn't push through. A great game, though.
For the Union counter attack, I'm going to scale up battle-wise, and scale down miniature-wise, for a big battle with tanks and air support. Meridian bleeds on...

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fast Play Grande Armee

I've posted my love for this great fast play version of Sam Mustafa's Grande Armee., so I won't go into game mechanics. This was a semi-historical re-fight of the action happening at the center at Aspern-Essling. Teh teraain was rolling hills and sporatic light woods.
The French won the first initiative but the center could not get a move on and take the central hills. Meanwhile the flanks got a pounding.
 The road between the two towns.
 Austrians take the hill.
For once, in all the games we've played, the Austrians put up a good fight.
Four turns in, (turns can last 1-4 pulses, which things exciting) both sides were beat all to hell. The Austrians had it slightly worse, and failed their army morale. But, then so did the French. Both sides skulked away.
A truly great battle.
Editor's note: I neglected to mention the valiant effort of the now named "Lucky 13th" or "Lost Brigade". They became separated from the rest of the line. This is terrible in these rules. Attackers get to reroll hits, etc. They managed to hold the a large chunk of the Austrian right wing before being finally crushed in a cavalry charge.

Friday, January 16, 2015

To the Strongest! playtest.

I've always been a big fan of grid or hex based games for the simple fact that it speeds things up, no arguments of ranges or if you wheeled correctly, etc. Commands and Colors is a great game and my pal Chris over at CluckAmok, always brings a great version of it to our local con RECRUITs with miniatures and hex terrain. I've tried in vain over years to make a hex map for own 8'x6' table.

I've been following Simon Miller over at Big Red Bat Cave for years. When I saw he had written a set of grid based rules that combined a lot of the aspects of games I like I pick them up right away. I don't have an ancient army, but I do have a lot of medievals.
The rules are great for a multitude of reasons. Don't need a particular scale, basing or mounting system. The grid can be subtly added like I did with small stickers painted a shade lighter or darker. I settled on 6" grids which is slightly larger than two of my 60mm bases wide. It only took about 15 minutes to add them.

Cards are pulled to activate units (for the most part a 2+) and can keep activating to do things like move, charge, shoot and rally until they fail and then that command is done ala Warmaster/Blitzkrieg Commander/ all current Warlord Games. Generals are there to add rerolls.
My biggest change was to use d10s instead of pulling cards. To the Strongest uses a couple standard card decks with the face cards removed. Personally, I didn't like the look of the cards sitting behind units. It was easy just to put the die back there. They come off at the end of your turn.
The game itself took less than 10 minutes to explain and the guys were rolling without much looking at the rules. They doesn't mean the game is simplistic. It has quite a bit of subtle tactics.
The game itself was a blast. It came down to a difference of 1 Victory point. Just when it look like one flank was going to be rolled up by a flank charge, the general rolled "1" to activate. A failure.
I highly recommend the rules. I will be using them for some Fantasy battles soon.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Turning to DUST

I've always thought the DUST futuristic, alt-WW2 miniatures and vehicles were cool, but wasn't thrilled about playing on a grid. Then they released DUST Warfare that took the minis off the grid, but I read some non flattering reviews. So, fast forward to GEN-Con 2014. I picked up the latest and greatest version of the rules. It has both the grid based system and a revamped tabletop version.
I picked it up and found the rules fun and easy to play, especially for a large group like ours. Besides, armored, undead zombie Germans with fricking-lay-zers.
A month or so ago Fantasy Flight games was offering all the DUST merchandise for a whopping 75% off! I dropped $150 and got a load of them.
After the holiday break, I wanted something easy and finally got them out.

It took less than 10 minutes to explain the rules. Everything is on the cards. Instead of the dice designed for the rules, which have 3 different faces repeated twice, we used regular dice. Roll 5 or 6 to get a hit for the most part.
The scenario involved the Allies trying to break thru a Axis held village.
Buckets of dice, and buckets of fun. Favorite part involved a huge Allied tank (six legged walky thing) unloaded 23 hits on a not-quite-zombie unit hiding in the woods. They managed to save all but 2. We joked I need to make a piece of terrain that's just stumps to replace the woods.
All in all, a fun, simple, don't take it too serious game. Off to troll ebay for more....
Side note: I usually do not tolerate unpainted minis on the table except for play tests. But, I know I'll probably never paint these guys, and they have a plastic toy soldier quality (with way better detail) that was acceptable.