Friday, January 25, 2013

Golden Age Supers

A small hamlet in the English countryside is about to become a battlefield. This sleepy little village is actually an Allied secret base, home to numerous top secret technologies and currently the prison for the nefarious Axis scientist Faust.
Guarding these secrets are members of the Freedom Force.
They are soon to be attacked by Team Axis.
Team Axis was giving the choice of spreading out, but we chose to keep it tight and all enter the board in one place. Our henchmen quickly fell under a hail of bullets. Blitzkrieg dashed forward, pummeled Britannia, then zipped away. Kriegshunde then charged up and hammered her. It looked bad for the Allies.

Between Uberman's brute strength and Agent Axis's deadly fire, the soldiers guarding the town went down along with the Druid.
Golden Crusader was surrounded and beaten, while Jack-O-Lantern seemed the only Freedom Fighter capable of dealing any damage.
In the end, the scientist was rescued but KO'd. The radio tower was smashed, and the Freedom Forced forced to flee.
It was a great game. Kriegshunde definitely gets the MVP. That guy took a beating but still kept whalloping the good guys. It was nice to have a small group, including the Boy who tore himself away from Black Ops 2 for once. SS2 always gives a fun night. I'll be starting a new campaign with new heroes and villains, so stay tuned True Believers.....

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Right behind my love of all things wargaming (both tabletop an electronic) is my love of reading. A glance at Her Ladyship's newly finished library will review the depths of our bibliophillia. I thought it wouldn't be too outside the realm of this blog to include a few short reviews that might interest people who also like gamin' and readin'
I just finished Red Country by Joe Abercrombie. I'll start by saying, if you haven't read Mr. Abercrombie's First Law trilogy, starting with the Blade Itself, you are living a an unfulfilled life. You haven't read good fantasy. You are lost. Go now and read them.
Now, back to this book. It takes place in the world described by the First Law, but it's not necessary to read those to get this book. This time, we got out West. the Far Country. I could say the plot is  basically the Searchers in an Old West without firearms, but that would be selling it short. Yes, we're looking for stolen children taken by the savage natives, but we meet great characters along the way, a disgraced old Mercenary Captain and disreputable crew, the old Buffalo Bill type scout who has seen better days, and take some fun twists and turns in the middle.
Abercrombie's writing is gritty and viscerel. Some of the best fight scene description's out there. George R R Martin even tips his hat to Joe.
It short, just read it. Some great fodder for wargaming hidden in there.
Next, an unread gem discovered while restocking the library, the Fort by Bernard Cornwell. A one-off story of the Revolutionary War
And, if you don't like my reviews, I highly recommend the reviews written by the Baroness, who today celebrates her Birthday. All of Unkerlant pauses from whatever conflicts it finds itself in today to rejoice! Happy Birthday, my best friend, my heart's true joy, mother of the Boy and Girl, fellow movie/game/book lover and the bestest thing that ever happened to my me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Maurice, three ways.

A dilemma, gentlemen. After reading Maurice, I'm definitely in. Doesn't require a lot of miniatures as it is really a two player game. Long term, a mulit-player campaign would be nice but that's a ways off. The other nice thing is basing. The game uses "base-widths" as measurement, so what scale and number of minis you use, is really up to you. More for your own aesthetics, really. Thus, my predicament.
I officially have Marlburian or War of Spanish Succession miniatures in 4 scales, 6mm, 10mm, 15mm and 28mm. I'm throwing out 10mm as I already do it for Might and Reason in the Unkerlant Campaign.  Yes, I could double up the bases to make the square base sizes needed for Maurice, but I think they'd look weird (too many flags).

From a pure economic stand point?
28mm x 24 men to an infantry unit: $23 a unit (With my Old Glory discount)
15mm x 24 men to an infantry unit: $7.20 a unit (again, discount on Blue Moon), $9.60 for a 32 man unit. I also have a sh!t ton of Dixon 15s (seen above) too.
6mm at 16 strips to a unit: $7

From a time and effort standpoint? 6mm or 15mm is going to win.

From an artistic or tabletop view? God's own scale, 28mm wins (plus double use for Black Powder).
Oh great minds of the Blogosphere guide me in my hour of need.....

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

6mm Fast Play Grande Armee

We hadn't dug out this old favorite for awhile. Some of the group actually had never played Fast Play Grande Armee, so this was their chanve. Of, course, those particular few didn't show.
I've been battlin' the Two Week Crud so sat this one out, instead helping remember rules we alwasy forget.
The scenario was an Austrian defense in depth. The French were going to have to capture or at least push the Austrians out, of the towns and secure the bridges beyond. The French had a 1.5-to-1 advantage.
The Austrians decided to push as far as they were allowed to deploy forward, taking the hills. As you might have guessed, it was a hard slog to push them off. It wasn't helped by the French left, made of the entire cavalry force. They wouldn't budge. When they finally got moving, they swept everything aside and made a huge wheel around the Austrian right, but not before time ran out.
The Austrians managed to do the same on their left. A defensive strategy quickly went offensive as they began to push back their French opponents.
As usual, a great game with plausible outcomes and a feel for the period. I like that there is built into the rules, a great follow up, post game pursuit mechanism. It pays not to commit all your cav. You can turn a minor victory into a crushing one as your victorious horse ride down the defeated foe. Great for campaign. Wish Sam would publish these by themselves instead as a an add on for Grande Armee.
The great 6mm Baccuss minis painted by Mr. Scott.

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Staaaaay on Target...."

I'm not a fan of playing games set in movie worlds. Don't now why. Despite loving LotR and the great GW miniatures, I have zero interest in gaming it. Same goes for that beloved part of my childhood, Star Wars.
So, when Bill brought over X-Wng I was skeptical, especially playing "real" characters like Luke and Vader. But, the game play made up for it.
The minis are sweet. The game itself simple, with every miniature getting Shoot factor, evade, hull points and shields. You also get a maneuver wheel, which is like a really simplified Blue Max chart.

We, the evil Empire had 4 TIE fighter (one, Vader, advanced) vs. 2 X-Wings and a Y-Wing.
The TIEs have no shields but are more maneuverable. I made the most of Vaders 2 actions by taking evasive actions while targeting too.
The result. My crappy nobody TIE pilot almost shot down Luke Skywalker, while Vader and the other 2 knocked out his buddies. Luke would escape,...for now.
Had a lot of fun. Found myself making TIE fighter noises and "pew-pew"ing. My only gripe is the number of counters on the board. Oftly cluttered for a space battle. But, this would make a great early jet game.
We finished off the night with Epic Spell Wars. Again, lots of fun.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

One read-through reviews

Now that I have had a chance to read through some of my Christmas horde, I have thoughts and reviews.
Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards, Duel at My Skullzfyre
I tried this out with some of my Lunch Money gaming veterans. The play is much more light hearted but still all about killing your neighbors. You try to put together spells from the cards you've drawn. The ones with a Source, Delivery and Outcome are more powerful. Each time you get new and unique spell combos, and the artwork is great. Reminds me of Adventure Time meets old 70s Crazy and Bananas magazines. We had only a few players. Six would give even more fun and crazyiness. Great for kids.
4 out of 5 Flaming Skulls
Condottiere by Frank Chadwick
Being a set of Foundry rules made to sell their awful new Renaissance miniature line, I put this on the wish list more for the pictures and background than actual rules. In these glory days of wargaming with all the new innovation in game mechanics, Frank Chadwick has stayed very, very old school. Single figure removal and using playing cards for casualty outcomes harkens back to the Sword and the Flame. It has to be geared more for smaller battles, I don't know how you get a bigger game in, in a decent time otherwise. Glad this one was a freebie. If I had spent $40 myself I'd be pissed.
2 out of 5 pikes (only for the nice pictures, too bad they are of the crappy new Foundry line).
Dux Bellorum by Daniel Mersey
This rules for Dark Age wars grew out of Glutter of Ravens, released some time ago. I remember thinking they were OK, but missing something. The new range of Osprey wargames rules have got alot of flack for being long on production values and pretty pictures but short on substance. For $12.96 on Amazon, I think they are a great little deal. Whatever problems I had with Glutter, seemed to be fixed now. There are quite a few wargames out now for this period, Dux Britainniarum being the big one. I found Dux Brit had alot of great set up and campaign ideas, but the actual combat rules convoluted and clunky (SAGA does it better).
Dux Bell borrows some ideas from all over and puts them together nicely. Each warhost is of base sized units ala DBA, but of whatever size/make up you want, because measurements are in base-widths (ala Sam Mustafa). Each stand takes a number of Cohesion hits (Black Powder/Hail Caesar) before it breaks based on a target to hit number (again BP/HC).
The real fun part that sets it apart, is the use of Leadership Points (LPs). LPs can be used in different ways to motivate your troops, block enemy fire, or help with other outcomes. Simple mechanic similar to command points in Grande Armee or Might and Reason, but perfect for a period of history were a War Leader, or Dux Bellorum, had more influence on a battle's outcome. Best part, I can use troops already mounted for other rules for this and think it has use for bigger, multiplayer games.
4 dragon standards out of 5.
Maurice by Sam "the Man" Mustafa
Named for Marshal of France Maurice de Saxe, an under appreciated general who knew not defeat, and a true character in his own right. To me, much like Sam Mustafa's games.
Anyone who stumbles upon this blog knows I'm Sam's #1 fan. Many plays of Grande Armee and Might & Reason  have convinced me he knows how to deliver period flavor without sacrificing playability, reasonable playing times or getting too abstract. I had all but given up on Nappies until GA.
So, on to Maurice. First, it is more of a two player game. Yes, that's bad for my gaming group of 6-8, but not necessarily. The games can be short. The campaign system Succession Wars included in Maurice would be perfect for our little group. My table split 3 ways would give 3 games going on simultaneously. Let the Imagi-Nations go! I could use the campaign simply for my own Unkerlant.
Maurice's mechanics for actual combat varies little from Might and Reason, but its the turn sequence and use of Action Cards (similar to Commands and Colors) that really makes it shine. It creates a natural ebb and flow to the battle. You can push and blow a bunch of cards to get the advantage, but then have to hold for awhile as your forces regroup.
Maurice requires the purchase of the card deck to play, and the game ain't cheap. Around $50 was the cheapest I found for both rules and cards. But, the rules give you everything from random battlefield generation to random officers (Notables) to campaign play. Well worth it. I'm currently rebasing a ton of dusty 6mm Marlburians that have never seen combat for this. So day maybe even some 28s. Can't wait to try.
5 out of 5 powdery wigs.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Regimental Fire and Fury

I've owned RF&F for awhile, but never understood the appeal. Why play a more complicated version of plain old F&F? New guy John has a very fine collection of 28mm ACW stuff and has been itching to try RF&F. Regimental F&F lets you paint all those fun troops that don't get represented much on a brigade level game. Those cool Zuoaves would only amount to a stand in F&F.
Our brave boys in butternut move forward
We had to abandon alot of the things that make RF&F more detailed like all the various troop qualities for lack of time, or at least until people got used to the mechanics. (In hindsight, we probably should have played F&F first, to get everyone up to speed). But we kept some things. The Union got rifled muskets and a 24" range and got start in the woods, while we poor REbs had smoothbore 12" ranges and started in the open. Not a good beginning.
With several "Well Handled" command results the Rebs flew across the field covering 24" in a turn. But, the Federals were able to use the woods as cover, and blast away most of the game. Only one of the Scotts made any headway, but was finally driven back.
Rico Zuoaves

Union troops make the best of cover

The Rebs target some sharpshooters
At 10pm we had to call it (besides, K-State was getting hammered on the TV and me along with them).
I think everyone liked 'em. I can see small battles with each unit getting different variations could be fun. Fire and Fury is my favorite ACW rules, but it is not a fast game. For time's sake, we have to try some Black Powder or Foundry's rules. Also there has been some dark rumblings of doing some 6mm ACW using Sam Mustafa's unofficial variation of "Might and Reason" called "Rights and Treason".
We shall see.
Last night's pairings:
Representing the North, Wheat State Golden form Free State Brewery in Lawrence, KS (boo, hiss).
Representing the South, 1842 Porter from Weston, MO (Huzzah!)
Iffen yer in the KCMO area, both breweries/pubs are worth a try.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Got the Professor, now get the plans...

Over the break we played a little VSF skirmish. In our big GASLIGHT story arc, the Germans have been getting new weapons and technology from the alien Visitor. One of their not-so-secret bases is located at Castle Von Lowenbrau. An diversionary attack on the nearby coast by British forces has left but a skeleton crew to watch over the base. Now, British forces led by the legendary Sir Nigel Tuftnell 3rd earl of Spindletapp, are sneaking in.
The German garrison stand ready

This Lady Hussar guards the lab at all costs
The British are assisted by an escaped scientist who has told them of a secret way under the walls. The British decide to send their Naval Landing Party right at the gates, while the rest find the secret way in. They must find the technology and destroy any new weaponry they can't carry with them.
From the start, the deadly fire from the German garrison is telling. Not a man makes it through the gate house.
Sir Nigel scouts the walls.
Sir Nigel's forces fair little better and only just make it into the castle before being slaughtered.
In hindsight, the Brits should have had more troops, but only a handful of folks made it out. Instead of GASLIGHT, we used my Fistful of Lead rules, which worked great for the small action.
Lady Hussars prove deadly accurate

Captain Pennyworth gets farther than any of his men

Corporal Hastings pays back the Ladies
The Allies were not successful at all. They even got the scientist recaptured. But fear not, a Norwegian observatory has spotted a strange light in the sky, headed directly for Earth!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Daddy's back

I missed you all. This will sort of be a good news.bad news thing. Let's start with the good.
The horde:
I love Amazon. They have a wish list. I put all this stuff on it, the Baroness can just hit "buy". I've been coveting Smallworld for awhile. I have played many times, but the $60 price tag always threw me off. Target had for $35.
Being a great fan of Lunch Money, Epic Spell Wars looked like the same thing with magic and great artwork, done deal.
"Maurice" I am still reading through but can't wait to try. So far, everything I dreamed of (Might and Reason meets Commands and Colors) and more. 
"Popular Front". Read good reviews on Boardgame Geek. We played last Thursday and it was a great little game. Simple but lots of strat-tee-gery.
"Dux Bellorum" and "A World Aflame" are Osprey game titles. Probably crap, but nice pictures. 
Same for "Condotierre". Frank Chadwick is pretty old school as far as rules go. Got mostly for the pictures and OOBs.
Had to get the Conan Collection book and another Renaissance title to get motivated to finish my Italian Wars armies.
Speaking of mins...
What I painted over the break:
For Pulp Alley. She just has to be named Natasha.

Famed archeologist/adventurer Arkansas Bob

Lady Virginia Dare

Spanish Pikes

Spanish Command

Those Pig Iron Fellas I been working on.

a Scientist suitable for numerous genres.
And finished the much promised library for the Baroness. She was pleased, and so much celebration in Unkerlant was had.
with it done I had time/space to organize the minis:
Now the bad. On Christmas Eve my Dad had a stroke. This pretty much put a damper on the rest of the time off. He is better, but it has been devastating to the family. Anyone who has dealt with this and the weight of a possible nursing home stay knows what I'm talking about. Parkinson's had already robbed a great man of much of his fire and this was the twisting of the knife. Thus, my lack of posting. Thanks for any thoughts/prayers in advance.
-Zee Baron
Next post: VSF mini-skirmish