Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Foiled Again

On Monday my game was once again cancelled at the last moment. These things happen and I have certainly done it enough times to other people.  Not much we can do in these situations but shrug your shoulders and carry on. Its only a hobby and your 'real life' has to come first.

This left me at something of a loose end on Monday so I just wandered around having a good look at the various games being played at the club. Once again we were very busy with a good mix of game being played:

Field of Glory
Dux Brittaniarum
Flames of War
Naval Pre Dreadnought
ACW Naval
ACW Infantry game but I still did not catch the rulebook.
 Warhammer fantasy Battle.

I was interested to watch the Impetus and the Dux B especially.  Dave Knight (who writes the Leadwarrior blog) now appears to be playing in three Dux B campaigns, which I am sure will get a little confusing.  Impetus is always interesting to watch as it is a bizarre mix of fluid and quick game mechanics mixed in with some of the weirdest, gamey , counter-intuitive rules I have ever seen in a game anywhere and those that are good at Impetus seem to the be the people that are best able to exploit the gamey side of the rules.
Impetus was the ruleset that finally got me to commit and purchase my first Historical army, that since has done great double duty in Saga, Dux Brittaniarum and Dux Bellorum but every time I play it there are a few things that strike me as unnecessarily complicated and a bit gamey.  I will persevere though as it is easily the most popular set of ancients rules in the club.

I have a few cavalry to finish painting and then my Late Roman army will be completed and I will be turning my eye to something new for next years major project.  I have a few things that have caught my eye recently.  

The new Celts from Mark Simms at Crusader miniatures.  Lovely sculpts and very reasonably priced at just over a pound a miniature.  These would probably be based on 40mm square base so that there is a lot more flexibility in the game that I can use them with.
When rummaging in the loft recently I came across my box of Moria Goblins. I have the fellowship already painted and it would not take to much effort to paint up the Goblins required for the Moria section of Lord of the Rings. I would need to lay my hands on a Balrog, plus build a few pieces of terrain. The terrain building could be an interesting project to do with the kids though.
The game of WHFB 3rd edition have turned my thoughts to the first edition of 40k, rogue Trader, I played far more Rogue Trader than Fantasy 3rd when I was young and spent many a wasted afternoon in my mum and dads garage pushing badly painted toy soldiers around. I still have a few of my Orks and Eldar form that era and have been having a wee look on e-bay at the costs of the classic old Kev Adams sculpts and they go for about 2-3 quid a pop so not to bad.  I also have a large amount of Genestealer Hybrids as well, and have always wanted to do a Genestealer cult so there are definitely possibilities there.

Plenty of time think about these as I wont be starting anything new this side of Christmas.

Next weeks game is Impetus at 300 points. We will see how many WTF? moments the game throws up.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Oldhammer Test 2

This Monday night Rory and I played our postponed trial game of Warhammer Fantasy 3rd Edition, with club house rules thrown in.

We opted to use the lists from the Warhammer Armies book, with a total points value of 1500 and no wizards larger than Lvl2.

I brought my Orcs and Rory opted for the Empire.
In the end my Orc army consisted of:

24 Orc Boyz
20 Orc Arrer Boyz
26 Goblins
26 Goblins
7 Orc Boar Riders
1 4 Man Orc Catapult.

On top of this I had a Lvl20 Orc general (to lead the Orc Boyz), 1 Lvl 15 Orc Shaman (in the Orc Archers) and a level 15 Goblin hero in each of the Goblin units and a Lvl15 Orc to lead the Boar Riders.

The Orcs, laid out before deployment.

Ans after deployment.

  The Empire army consisted of 2 units if Halberdiers, 2 Cannons, 5 Heavy Knights, 8 Crossbow Armed light cavalry, 10 Foot crossbows, 30 Levies plus a few heroes, including a general on a horse and a single Lvl 15 Wizard.

The Empire army arrayed for battle.
I won the roll for the first turn and managed a fairly orderly advance. My shooting phase went quite well with the Stone Thrower being on target and taking out one of the Empire cannons before it had even had a chance to fire (hooray!).  My Orc wizard also managed to get a  good volley of fireballs of in the magic phase, eliminating half of the empire crossbowmen.

In the Empire turn they pretty much returned the favour, with the cannon blowing a big whole in my unit of Orcs but the Empire wizards fireball spell was less effective, failing to cause any casualties.  In turn two my Boar Riders charged home into the large unit of levy on my right flank, while the rest of my army closed the gap as quickly as they could.  

The Boar Riders made short work of the Levy, inflicting a large amount of damage thanks to some fluky dice rolling, With no losses in return the levy inevitably broke and ran, with the Boar Riders in Hot pursuit.
You jammy git!

Getting a bit messy.
In the Empire turn two the empire army got stuck in, with charges all round.  In the ensuing rounds of combat, my Boar Riders continued to chase down the levy, the first unit of goblins managed to beat and then rout one of the units of Halberdiers, while the remaining Empire Knights managed to rout the other unit of goblins.   The main unit of Orcs, containing the Orc general managed to beat their opponents but they passed their rout test to fight another round of combat. 

In my third turn things went really down hill for the Empire. The main unit of Orcs managed to beat and rout their opposing Empire unit, and to add insult to injury the Orc general managed to eliminate his empire counterpart in single combat.  By the end of my third turn most of the Empire army was in full rout, with the Orc army only really having lost one unit of Goblins so at this point Rory decided to call it a day.

The main scrap, with the two opposing generals duking it out.

End game, with the Empire army in full retreat.

The Orc left flank collapses.

Orc archers looking for something to do.

Boar Riders ready to wheel about to find another opponent.
In the end the game only lasted for three turns, which is quick even by 8th edition standards, never mind the slower third.  The few changes we had made to the rules made the game play a lot quicker and I am not sure that they have improved the game all that much.  All in all the game felt much like any game of Warhammer fantasy Battle, just a few of the rules were slightly different as they always are when you change edition.  I think what was missing was a more third edition approach to playing the game. we basically played whfb in the manner that we normally do: pick armies, throw down some random terrain and then have at it, last man standing is the winner. Perhaps that is not what playing Oldhammer is all about and a bit more thought is required for future games?  It is early days yet so only time will tell, but  I am going to have a rummage in the loft for my old Blood Bath at Orcs Drift campaign set and have a look at updating it slightly and see of that helps any.

One thing Rory and I did notice on Monday night was the general noise level in the club. There were 14 games going on during the evening, from a wide range of genres and periods. Of note were:

Two games of Field of Glory in 15mm
Two game of Impetus in 28mm
Four(!) games of Warhammer fantasy Battle, 3 of 8th edition and our 3rd edition game.
One game of Dux Britaniarum in 28mm
One game of Force on Force in 20mm
One game of Piquet in 15mm
One ACW game, but I cannot remember teh name of the ruleset being used.
One game of Dystopian Wars

The club has a real buzz about it just now, with a good range of games going on, and people mixing to play lots of different games. We are even starting to get involved in some historical exhibitions, with the games we put on providing a good visual aid to help bring history to life for some people. All in all a good thing.  

A busy hall, taken after a few games had finished and been packed up, including ours.

Warhammer Corner, where all the 8th edition players like to set up.

Hopefully next week I will get another game of X-wing with Ian, after having to cancel our last arranged game at the last minute. I really hate having to do that but unfortunately life sometimes just gets in the way!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Counters, while I remember.

I am still on a bit of a Dux Britaniarum vibe at the moment and have been re-reading the rules to make sure we did everything correctly etc etc.

I decided two things:

I will probably set up a campaign page on this blog somewhere (if I can work out how, being a bit of a technophobe), and counters for activation are definitely the way to go rather than cards.  It is pretty difficult to shuffle 8 cards with any real success, which causes problems in game.

After I had decided that I had a quick look at Warbases, the go-to place for all things custom in bases and tokens. After a bit of thought I ordered a full set of custom acrylic tokens, basically copying everything that is in the activation deck that the Too Fat Lardies sell.

When they came they looked pretty good (I think I even managed to avoid any typos), although the text was quite difficult to read.  I remedied this using one of the kids crayons, rubbed on to the token and then the excess wiped off, leaving some left in the indentation left by the text.  The results are pretty good:

When gaming rather than use cards all the relevant tokens will get put in a mug, or a canvas bag and drawn at random until the turn end, at which point they will be returned to the container for the start of a new turn.

I don't know when I will next be playing Dux B, but I like to have this sort of thing done well in advance, so that I can concentrate on other things in the lead up to the game, as the less faffing around on the night the better.  Plus being a bit of an obsessive type I really needed to get it done and out of my head.  Now I need to resist the temptation to purchase some lovely (but expensive) dark ages terrain from Grand Manner,  plus some livestock.

I ordered three full sets of these counters, so that I would have spares to cover the inevitable losses.

Oldhammer on Monday though so better try and get Dux B out of my head for a bit!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Village Raid

This weeks game was originally going to be another bash at Oldhammer between myself, Rory and Dave K.  Unfortunately Rory called off as he was working on finishing off his man-cave (lucky git!) so Dave and I decided at the last minute to give Dux Brittaniarum a whirl.

I bought Dux B when it first came out over a year ago but did not have the forces painted at the time to play it, and then in typical fashion other games started to take precedence so it got forgotten about for a bit.  
After the latest batch of excellent Dark Age characters came out from Musketeer Miniatures I started to think about it again so when Rory cancelled I suggested to Dave that we gave the game a go.

I am a big fan of the Too Fat Lardies as I think their approach to  game play is excellent. As a long time player of Games Workshop games it is certainly refreshing to play a set of rules  that is designed for fun and period flavour, rather than as a marketing tool to drive miniatures sales.  I have Sharpes Practice and it is a really good looking set of rules but my Napoleonic project has stalled badly, mainly thanks to Impetus and Bill at Musketeer Miniatures, so I was very happy to see the Lardies produce a set of rules for a period that I was already in the process of painting and collecting.
Dux B is set in England right after the departure of the Legions, at a time when the Saxons were starting to invade and generally make a nuisance of themselves. It also includes an excellent campaign system, but more on that later.

I am also quite keen on the Dark Ages. I am not much of a Historical Gamer, as the main drive for me is the appearance of the game and how enjoyable the rules are, with my lack of period knowledge meaning that I am not that bothered about period flavour beyond how the game feels.  Period Flavour is an entirely subjective thing anyway, as evidenced by the sheer volume of rule sets that are out there.
Dark Ages gaming is ideal for me as I don't have to worry about regimental uniforms, orders of battle etc. as none of that really existed.

We decided to carry out a raid on a village and tossed a coin to see who was what. In the end I ended up with the hairy Saxon types, while Dave landed with the Romano British (very Romano, as we were basically using Roman miniatures as the British).

The scenario was that the Saxon Raiders had to search a few buildings, locate the loot and the escape of their board edge with it, all while holding off the British that had come to try and chase them off. I managed to get quite close to the village before any of the British arrived, which was very good and set to searching as quickly as possible while sending a token force to hold of the British when they started arriving.
The first of the British to arrive

Hairy Saxons rush forward for some looting

More British arrive. Uh Oh!

Some Saxons to hold of the British, while the rest have all the fun.

Lots of angry British now! Gulp.

I quickly manage to get into the buildings and started searching, while Dave's British rushed to intercept us. There was a small encounter between some Brits and some Saxon Hearthguard, with the Brits coming of slightly worse, but then Dave really stuck the boot in and started to give my small line of defence a good doing over.  He dispersed my Missile troops quickly and then one of his nobles attacked with a group of troops and gave the Saxons a very bloody nose.

The Saxon line holds steady (for now).

The first fight of the game, pretty inconclusive. I was happy as long as the line held!

The second fight of the game, Lots of Saxons running away (no loot for them!)

While this was going on I was busy searching the houses and with a stroke of luck managed to find both pieces of loot in one turn (each turn of searching you rolled a D6, on a 6 you found the loot).

My remaining Saxons quickly started running away (although some of my force were already running away by this point) with the British in hot pursuit.

We've got the cash, leg it lads!

British in hot pursuit.

The saxons escape with the cash! Hooray!

I managed to escape the board with both loads of loot, and with my force relatively intact to boot. I lost 11 men, while Dave lost 6.  We consulted the victory conditions and discovered that the Saxons had secured a narrow victory!

At this point Dave and I decided to make this the first instalment of a narrative campaign that we would play occasionally. The idea of the campaign is that the British have to defend the Kingdom from Saxon invaders, while your main Noble tries to advance in rank and can eventually become King, while the Saxon Noble is trying to make a name for himself by carrying out Raids, until he is sufficiently famous to mount an invasion of the British Kingdom and start seizing the land. Dave has a look at the map and settled on the British Kingdom of Caer Colun, which was part of the Saxon Shore, on the West  Coast of England.  A good place to start for a campaign as it only consist of three territories so we should be able to come to a conclusion reasonably quickly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this game for a number of reasons:

  • Very good set of rule that were not to complicated and did not reward micro-management of your forces
  • I like the period a lot
  • It is nice to play a game where you do a little bit more than fight ot the last man standing, and actually if you did that you would probably end up losing the campaign altogether.
I am definately looking forward to playing this again, as we have now also generated our Nobles and I will have to go and some research  to find some suitably Saxon sounding names for them.

My only criticism (and it is a tiny one) is the card activation system, as this did not seem to be as random as I would have liked. I am going to look into into counters in a cup and drawing them randomly, which I think will be much more satisfying, but all in all an enjoyable experience that I am keen to repeat.