Friday, July 26, 2013

A little Longstreet Lite

I was VERY excited when it was announced last week Longstreet, by my favorite rules author Sam Mustafa, would be available FREE as a lite version download. As the name suggests, it's a wargame for the American Civil War. This was my first period I painted and one close to my heart. I've loved Fire & Fury since it came out, but it isn't always easy to put a game of F&F on with the time constraints and player numbers for our regular Thursday night game.
Might & Reason, Fast Play Grande Armee, & Maurice have always given me a good game. So, when the chance came to bring two of my favorite things together I had to do it.
Longstreet uses a similar mechanism as Maurice and really has similarities to Commands & Colors too, in that it combines the card management system of a board game with the tabletop finery and mechanisms of a wargame.
To shoot or move your troops around, cards must be played/discarded. Each time you go through a deck, the cards are reshuffled and you lose 6. When you take "x" amount of casualties or there are no more cards, you're finished.
The Propaganda Architect contemplates his move
The Lite version, as you might expect, is really trimmed down. Only rules for infantry and guns, and no use of variations in troop quality and limited cards. It's made for 2 players, but I just printed enough for a 6 player game and kept the terrain simple.
The game started with both sides within gun range. As the cannons roared, hits were taken. Hits can can be cancelled by playing cards for their Morale value. But, there in lies your first decision: "Do I burn cards to save my troops, or save them for something bigger?"
Card hoarding might seem like a tactic. But it won't pay off. Your troops will start to dwindle quickly if you don't play some morale cards. You'll reach your target losses and lose the game before you ever execute that master plan. A balance has to be struck.
Then the troops closed. Shooting may not seem that effective at first glance. If your opponent cancels your hits you may on pick off one or two stands, but you're making him burn cards.
Charging is separate from Moving, both of which require the use of cards to activate. But, you can only do one or the other in a turn, so plan accordingly. The combat mechanism is simple but effective.
I think everyone caught on quick and I don't think we looked at the Quick Reference sheet or looked up a rule more tan twice. For a Lite game, it was a lot of fun.
I'm most excited for the full version. Each player creates a force that, in almost campaign, RPG-like tradition, your troops will get better, take losses, create heroes and lose them. Veteran troops are crack shots and can take a beating, but are leery about closing with the cold steel. Conscripts are full of enthusiasm, but are quick to crack once make contact with the enemy. I can't wait to see what this game does in 28mm! Sorry you missed it John.
Next week we continue Mustafa month with some 6mm Fast Play Grande Armee.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Road Best Left Untravelled By

I'm almost finished with the Horse & Musket version of Fistful of Lead. All that's left is proofreading, art, and play testing the scenarios to make sure they work. One scenario involves one side getting a wagon down a long road infested with enemy. The one for the rule book is an encounter during the American Revolution, but I don't have those so, it was transported to Mexico during the Maximillain Adventure. Max has decided to aid the Confederate cause up north by sending a chest of gold. All the French troops have do is deliver the money to the waiting Rebels across the river. Of course, the Republican forces have other ideas.For purposes of the game, the Mexicans couldn't just shoot the horse.

taking fire from the hills
The Mexicans have hidden setup. They pop up anywhere on the table when they activate as long as its outside 12" from the enemy. I thought about appearing directly on the road, but was afraid of getting squeezed between two enemy. So we started deploying in the hills and hacienda.
The French were much smarter. They didn't stop to fight much but just kept moving down the road. They left a string of dead and wounded in their wake. I may have to add a rule about not leaving wounded and pinned behind.

Bloody Hill

The path of destruction
It was, as all FfoL games bloody. One Mexican force looked like they were getting creamed. The Rebs couldn't seem to miss, while the Mexicans could only force pins. But, later in the game those pinned guys kept rolling "1s" and bugged out. In the end, that particular fight ended being about even.
Despite picking of anyone who took the reins of wagon, the French made their delivery. It was fun and a 6 player game was over in 1 1/2 hours!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

the BASENING!....

... or "How I spent my summer vacation".
We all have those unfinished projects lurking in the shadows. For me one started long ago. I started painting Landsknects for an Italian Wars project 15 years ago, before a mortgage, before kids. I saw them in a Foundry flier. I couldn't afford Foundry at the time (still can't) so I put in an order with Old Glory. Tons of variety. I painted a ton, but never found a rules set I liked, and I bought them all.
Years went by. I picked up new packs appropriate for period from all kinds of manufacturers. I once even got really big freelance check and bought a lot of Foundry Gendarmes. The molds must be blown out, because the horses looked half melted. I complained and got new ones. Also melty.
I based. I rebased. Then, one day I played Black Powder. Not necessarily a perfect game, but perfect for me and my group. Hail Caesar followed and light started forming at the end of a 15 year tunnel. Then, finally Pike and Shotte arrived.
I plotted for months on how I would base the troops. I wrenched figures from stands, remounted, and then,...they sat. They were based. About 200 stands, but the worst part still waited, the basing material, the flock, the little extras.
The week of my summer vacation awaited. Sun, swimming, roller coasters, BBQs. Then the Boy broke his collar bone playing soccer. My vacation became a Staycation. Here was my chance.
Spanish Arquebusiers (Foundry Conquistadors) technically a little later period but good enough.

Spanish Sword and Buckler Men (also Foundry)

Neapolitan Spanish Collunella (The Assault Group)

Spanish Command

Spanish Pike (way before their dominance on the battlefield as Tercios) OG

OG formed Crossbows

OG mounted Arquebusiers

OG Artillery

OG Mounted Crossbows

Little Spanish gun

OG French Old Band Pikes (Past their prime)

OG skirmish crossbow x3

Spanish Jinetes (or Genitors)

Landsknect Doppelsoldats

Landsknect Arquebusiers x3

OG Landsknect Pike x4

And a bunch of Swiss I don't have room for. I still have some troops to buy/finish. More horse, more commanders and lots more crossbows need to take the filed, but I have enough to play with at least.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gruntz: Modern Africa

Thursday we play tested Gruntz for Modern Africa in another attempt to find the just the right balance of playability and time. If you aren't following other Jay's blog, you should. Most of the lovely figs you'll see in the AAR are his.
We've played Gruntz before. It's a near future squad based game. It uses simple mechanics: roll 2d6, add you "shoot" factor trying to meet or beat your target's "Guard" or defense. If you do, roll another 2d6 added to your weapons damage trying to beat your target's "Soak". That easy.
Some thing's we changed were the weapon ranges. We doubled all the ranges. Gruntz has some crazy ranges where you can actually close faster than the gun ranges.
But, on to the game.

Our favorite President-for-Life, Sawasilazi X1 was again having a "secret meeting" with his Secretary, when Rebels attacked. The rebels were to capture the President, blow up the power plant and capture needed ammo from the ammo dump.
Loyal forces were to prevent it.
The rebels had lots of troops but crappy. The loyalist had fewer but elite forces.

The rebels swarmed forward as the Presidential Guard tried to seek out the wayward President. The fight for both the ammo dump and power plant were suitably brutal. The Loyalist's found the boss, but the rebels managed to blow up the President's plane, preventing a quick escape.
Other than tweaking the stats on a few things, (the technicals were too tough) they rules suited us.
Without futuristic armor, troops dropped like flies. It actually seemed more realistic.