Monday, 29 December 2014

That was the year that was

Time for the almost obligatory roundup of the year. Seems to be a blogger tradition so here goes...

Gaming wise I managed a few games, but not as many as I would have liked. I probably played about 40 this year, split between a few key rule sets.  We concluded our Mordheim campaign, started Necromunda and I discovered the excellent Chain of Command rules from Toofat Lardies.  I also played a few games of Lord of the Rings and a few games of X-Wing, as well as a few games of Dux B. I don't remember playing much more than that really.  Interestingly I have not played a single game of Warhammer Fantasy Battle this year that I can remember, which is a change for me as it was my staple game for many a year. 

In terms of painting I managed to paint a few models, although I dont think I managed as many as last year.  This year I painted approximately:

50 Germans for Chain of Command
2 WW2 German Vehicles
4 Mordor Trolls
11 Models for Necromunda
a few Rogue Trader Orcs
2 Mantic modular Terrain buildings
some sci fi scatter terrain.
Some more dark Age buildings
Dark Ages livestock and some carts.

I dont recall painting much more than that, which is a pretty disappointing year painting wise. I have also been rebasing  my Lord of the Rings collection so that the sabot bases they are on are all the same size. I also did some sabot bases for Dux B.

Purchase wise there has been a few, most of which are now painted. I bought my WW2 Germans for Chain of Command, plus I managed ot put together a large force of Orks from the Rogue Trader days of 40k.  I also purchased the beginnings of an Eldar army fro Epic and got some very nice 6mm scale buildings from Kickstarter.

My biggest Hobby outlay this year has been Kickstarter.  Aliens vs Predator still hasn't delivered, mainly due to making a game from a very lucrative IP licence owned by a large corporation. I have high hopes that this will deliver in the early part of next year. In addition to this I also bought in to the second edition of Kings of War, but only for the rulebook. There are a lot of things I like about this ruleset and a few I dont, but these can easily be tweaked and will give me a set of rules to use my WHFB collection with.  The other big kickstartet investment this year has been Forward base by Antenociti's workshop. It was very well run and I fully expect that this will deliver in March as promised.  I also bought into Zealot Miniatures dungeon terrain for a small amount as it will help flesh out the terrain for Mantic's Dungeon Siege kickstarter, a very nice looking dungeon delver that has a basic ruleset that I can hopefully enjoy with the kids. The last Kickstarter of the year was an impulse purchase of an art book by the excellent Gary Chalk of Lone Wolf fame.  All in all I am expecting some rather exciting parcels to arrive in the next 12 months!

This year I only managed to attend three shows, Carronade, Claymore and Targe. All three were great fun and I even managed to pick up a trophy at Targe this year!

I think moving house and a few other work related issues has had a big dent in hobby activities this year, with 2015 looking to be much the same, what with all the planned work going on to the house. I am still hopeful of a good years gaming ahead though.

Looking towards next year and what it holds there will be the continuing Necromunda Campaign, as well as the conclusion of our Chain of Command campaign. There will also be a Dux B campaign kicking of in March.   I am also hoping to play a lot more games set in Middle Earth next year, as that has been neglected recently, especially the War of the Rings ruleset.  I would really like to take Helms Deep to a wargames show as out club display next year but as always I dont know if I will have the time for it.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Isen Fords, the second

The last Monday night of the year and I suggested that a game of Lord of the Rings was in order.  I haven't played much of that recent;y and perhaps the release of the last Hobbit movies has put it in my head to have a game.

Rory, Dave and Kenny all volunteered to have a go and I opted to have a bash at the Isen Fords. Rory wanted to have another try at the second battle, this time as the good guys. This suited me as upon opening the box I discovered that Erkenbrand's horse was broken, and as he fights on foot in the second battle we could use him in that one.

We tossed a coin and Rory and Dave ended up as the forces of evil, while Kenny and I took on the roles of the brave defenders of the Westfold.

The scenario is very simple.  There is a force defending the fords, and there is a chance from turn three onwards that mounted reinforcements will arrive.  The forces of Isengard, comprising of Uruk Hai, Dunlendings and a Troll (controversial!!!) are to attack the ford, with a flanking force of warg riders arriving anytime after turn 4.  The victory conditions are very simple, the forces of Isengard have to clear the ford by reducing the Rohan to under 25% of their starting strength by the end of turn 10.  Anything else is a win for Rohan.

Things started fairly slowly, with a slow advance from the evil side, while the Rohan stayed still to maximise their shooting. Shooting was fairly ineffective, apart from Kenny managing to take out most of the Uruk Hai beserkers before they hit our line.  In this scenario the river Isen is low and may be crossed at half speed, so the forces of evil waded across. The troll had the fastest movement and so made it across first. At the ford itself my forlorn hope got a good doing over by the Dunlendings as their superior numbers started to count.

Turn 3 and my cavalry arrived on the field. Hooray!  I withdrew from the fords and formed a line with my Royal Guard at the centre and started fishing about trying to find a brave soul to distract the troll.

Turn 4 the Wargs arrived (boo!) but they had very limited impact as they wandered on to the field right into the path of my cavalry.

By now battle was well and truly joined, with mounting casualties on both sides. The Warg Riders were dealt with, having virtually no impact on the game and we continued to feed the troll with one brave warrior of Rohan every turn.

By turn seven the Isengard force was broken and started to disapear. Turn 8 and the Rohan force was broken and started to disappear, albeit very slowly thanks to some very lucky die rolls and Erkenbrand's high courage value.   It all came down to courage rolls in the end and I was very lucky, with 14 Rohan left on the board at the end of turn 10. A victory for the Rohan, but a very close one though!

A very enjoyable end to the years gaming, although the Rohan were very lucky.  They managed to win eight out of the ten priority rolls and most of the roll off (thanks Rory!).

I have not played much Lord of the Rings this year and it is one of the things that I intend to remedy in 2015. I suspect that the game will go the way of the Dodo after the last movie has faded from memory so there may be a shopping spree in January as well, to make sure I get the last few bits I am after.    no more gaming for the rest of the year as that is the club closed for Christmas, but there will be the obligatory round up of the years gaming activities to come in the next week or so.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Eldar prove to be a Pain

The penultimate game of 2014 saw round three of the clubs Necromunda campaign, with me having choice of scenario due to my victory in round two.

Participants for round three were:

Rory and his Redemptionists
Dave and his Goliaths
Ian and his Eschers
John and his Craftworld Eldar
My Cawdor gang.
The table just before we started.

Stuck in the corner. I never managed to advance much further than this!

As the club forum is currently down we did not have access to the campaign ladder that Rory had put up, and a lot of the scenarios were unsuitable for a 5 way game so we opted to play a gang fight.

We rolled randomly for deployment and I ended up sandwiched in a corner with John Eldar to my right and Ian's Eschers to my left. There was very little cover as well.  John wont the roll off for first turn and advanced towards my corner, with me going after him.  The game started well for me as I managed to down one of his Eldar and take another one out of action, while elsewhere on the board Dave decided that a headlong rush was a good tactic and tried it on Ian, with mixed success.  Rory was a bit isolated in his part of the board and started to advance towards the Eldar and Ian's Escher.

Turn two saw a couple of Eldar Guardians poke their head round the corner of a building and put two of my gangers down, while I incinerated one with a Melta Gun for his trouble.  Elsewhere on the table there was an almighty gunfight happening between Ian and Dave, with Dave starting to come off slightly worse, while Rory exchanged fire with some Eldar scouts.

Turn three and John's guardians put down another two of my gangers, at which point I decided I was on a hiding to nothing.  I had moved my gang about 3 inched in total, with basically no where to move unless I go through the Eldar, two of which had managed to put nearly half of my gang down in two rounds of shooting.  I called it a day at that and retired, slightly miffed at the whole affair.

bloomin' Eldar...grumble grumble

Dave was next to go, thanks to casualties, leaving Rory and Ian to contest the spoils, which Ian eventually won when Rory decided enough was enough.

Another miserable experience being completely outgunned by the Eldar, although a consolation was that I managed to actually kill one outright. Eldar are unable to replace casualties easily so that is a bonus for the future campaign for everyone.  I also managed to get a boatload if experience for fighting against a much more powerful gang and some advances. My gang is now starting to look like it has a close combat bias and would certainly do well in Mordheim!  Unfortunately this is Necromunda so I am not sure how much use these advances are going to be.

One thing about Necromunda is the amount of time and effort that it takes to put the table together, with 4 people all putting terrain together and laying out barricades etc. It makes for a very collaborative experience!

In other news our Chain of Command has moved on, with my German Platoon getting ready to make the assault on the French defended Baincthun bridge, after the other Platoon commanders fluffed their assaults (if you want something done!).  Unfortunately the French commander decided to give ground and withdrew. This would give him time to recover some men to his depleted platoon. This means that the way is clear for the German assault on Mont Lambert, which we are planning on playing in the new year as a big Cain of Command game. We should have enough models as there are already three Germans Platoons available for this and while there are only two French Platoons the casualties on the French side have been quite heavy so there should be enough models on their side as well.  Looking to concluding a fun campaign and trying a big Chain of Command game.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Loot in the Underhive

Game 2 of our ongoing Necromunda campaign came around and we had four players turn up:

Me, with me Cawdor
Rory's Redemptionists
Douglas genestealer Cult
Andy's Van Saar.

Andy had already played his round two game but decided that he needed the practice and joined us for round two.  The scenario was the Scavenger Hunt, which meant we were fighting over a number of loot counters spread around the table.  

We had all brought some terrain with us and we tried out best to use every ounce of it, which meant the 4x4 table had a good amount of cover on it.

Rory tries to shoehorn one last peice of terrain onto the field!

Ready for the off.
We asked another member of the club to place the loot markers so that it was all above board. Unfortunately he placed 5 of the 6 counters on the other side of the table, which meant I was going to struggle.  There was one loot counter in my corner of the table and I had hopes that I could at least manage to grab that one.  Alas this was not to be as Douglas made use of his Vents territory to drop a ganger right on top of the loot counter on our side of the table.  Andy, who has vents and tunnels managed to grab three counters right from the off, whereas Rory managed to get one.  Not a good start.  

Things got worse when I decided to start taking out the Genestealer Cult and had my gang spring from cover ready to launch a destructive Alpha strike. Alas I missed with everything, leaving me slightly exposed and staring down the sights of a flamer.   Luckily the worst I got was two men downed, and I managed to get the rest of my gang to cover.  An exchange of fire ensued between me and Douglas, with Douglas coming of slightly worse. I even managed to down one cultist with a lucky pistol shot from a juve.
Taking Cover

On the other side of the table Andy and Rory were exchanging shots with a few casualties. Eventually Rory's gang broke as he suffered losses in hand to hand. I was now starting to get the better of Douglas and he decided to leave the table with the single loot counter that he had (despite my best attempts to take it from him).

In the end there was some confusion as to the victory conditions.  In the scenario if you manage to collect every loot counter on the board and return to you deployment zone then you win the game.  Andy assumed this meant the remaining loot counters, whereas I assumed the it meant all of them, including the ones already taken off the field by the other gangs. There was some discussion and in the end it was decided that Andy could abscond with his loot if he wanted, leaving my gang in possession of the field.

So a rather Pyrrhic victory, but in the end I was just happy to earn some income!  In the last game I had no gangers left who could work any territories so am a bit behind on income.  I did quite well out of it for experience though, with a few advances gained to build on the advances from the last game against the Eldar.  My gang is starting to take shape, with clear specialisations appearing in some of my gang members.

Next game in the campaign is in a few weeks. and my victory allows me to select the scenario so that should be fun.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Sodding Mortars

So another Monday at the club , and another game of my current set of rules Chain of Command.  This time John wanted to give them a bash and so we pitted his British Platoon against my Germans using the lists in the book.

We generated the Hold and Objective scenario and rolled randomly to see who would be the attacker. Fittingly for late war my Germans would defend this time.  John rolled a six for support, which left me with a measly three points.  He selected an observation team for an off table mortar (groan!) and an adjutant, while I took an additional senior commander and an adjutant. I figured in a game where my opponent would be able to lay down lots of smoke having good command and control would be vital so that I could keep my force fairly mobile.

View down the table from the German Table edge.

The German Strongpoint
The patrol phase was fairly neutral, with John gaining control of the crossroads in the middle of the table and me having my jump off points. 

When we began John got right to it and deployed a squad on my right, along with the mortar spotter and then deployed another squad on my left. I responded and deployed a squad against each one.
British left flank deployment.

German left flank strongpoint.
This resulted in a fairly static exchange of fire while John attempted to get his mortar barrage off.  He managed to do this a couple of times but being a jammy git he kept rolling triple sixes, ending the turn.  On my right flank I was starting to come of worst in the exchange of fire and decided to get out of the line of fire. On my left flank John's mortar barrage was finally called in.  To try and avoid being pinned I moved my senior officer back towards my objective. Unfortunately the mortar barrage overshot, missing me deployed squad completely but landing on my senior officer, killing him outright!  That'll teach him to abandon his men! 

Luckily the turn ended before John managed to move the barrage on to my men.  In the meantime he had deployed his third squad into the house in the centre of the board and was slowly advancing it down the centre.  My right had collapsed and the British were advancing. My left was still fairly secure though, but the British in the centre were going to cause a problem.  In the end I lucked out and managed to roll three sixes for my command dice. This ended the turn, removing another of John's mortar barrages and allowed me to deploy my last squad, catching one of Johns squads in the open.  I opened fire, and then for my repeat action I did it again.  This killed most of the squad, effectively neutralising them.    We decided to call it a night then as time was running short and there was not much left  to do, leaving us with an unfinished game, but looking increasing unlikely that there was anything that John could do to capture his objective.

Another interesting game, with me defending for once, and having a lot less toys to play with. This game was fairly static for me, with very little to do but hold my position and react to John's attacks.  German firepower carried the day in the end.  I just wish that I could have one game of Chain of Command where I didn't have to face an off table mortar. To be fair the last two games they mortar barrage has achieved nothing, but if John had saved his large amount of Chain of Command dice to keep his mortar barrages on the table at the end of the turns rather than using them to carry out interrupt actions things might have been different.
Next week is game two of out Necromunda campaign, and I am hoping that my gang can improve on its terrible opening game.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Targe 2014

This weekend I managed to sneak away from the usual family activities and attend the Targe wargames show in Kirriemuir.  The last few years of show attendance has pretty much always been accompanied by one or both of my children which has led to my show visits being pretty short.

This time I didn't bother and headed up the road myself. As is I had the luxury of staying as long as I liked I also entered a few things in the painting competition.  I have never had much success with painting comps but figured what the hell.

The show itself was the usual collection of tables. Our club put on a very nice Dark Ages game, with some Vikings raiding a Saxon village and the Saxons trying to defend themselves until the Norman cavalry came to the rescue. The usual suspects were there, Iron Brigade, Leuchars, etc etc and in general it was  a nice show and a very relaxing and rare day away from dealing with the kids.

It was nice to see a few diferent traders there as well. Crooked Dice were there and their stuff is always lovely to look at, as are the wares from Studio Miniatures. Dave Thomas was there as usual with his huge selection of Perry and Warlord products.

In terms of shopping I did not really have anything in mind so settled for picking up some barbed wire for Chain of Command and a few small cases from Figures in Comfort.

One standout game for me was a 6mm Epic 40k table is one of the smaller rooms.  Packed with terrain and tanks it made a very big change from the usual fare that you see at wargames shows.  I was chatting to the very nice chap at the table and he pointed out some laser cut buildings that he had made and that they were available at teh show.  I am always on the look out for new 6mm terrain so went and had a look.

I am not a huge fan of MDF laser cut terrain.  It works for some things like wild west buldings and sci fi terrain but can fall short for other periods like the Dark Ages.  The MDF just does not have the texture that is required for certain building materials.  Having said that we make extensive use of it our club as it can be bought pre-painted and can stand the rough handling and carelessness that is the lot of club owned terrain.  In this instance though 6mm highrise buildings are ideal for producing in 6mm and I bought one of each, at a fiver a pop.  

I am quite impressed with these and I think they will paint up very nicely.  I will keep an eye out for more appearing in this range in the future.

The other unexpected bonus to my enjoyable day was a prize in the painting competition. I managed to pick up first prize in the Sci-fi/Fantasy group in the painting competition, which I was very chuffed with.  All in our club did very well, with two 1st prizes and a couple of 3rds. So all in all an excellent day out.  

I was too busy enjoying my day away to remember to take any photos of the actual show itself though, so this is a rather bare blog post.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Catching Up

I havent managed to update on my games for a few weeks now so will cover the last couple of weeks in one blog post. Work and home life have been rather hectic.

Ill start with Monday just passed game.  Ian and I decided to have a game of X-Wing just before he headed back offshore for a few weeks.  I dont own any X-Wing stuff at all so was quite happy to let Ian come up with something to do on the night.

Ian had found an interesting scenario on the web that consisted of a rebel squadron tryign to shhiot down the shields on an Imperial Star Destroyer, so that an Ion Cannon can cripple it, allowing a local rebel convoy to evade capture.  Ian supplied two randomly selected fleets and we tossed a coin for sides. I ended up with the rebels, which consisted of the Millenium Falcon with Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles in an X-Wing, and another excellent X-Wing pilot whose name I cant remember.

Ian's Imperials consisted of 4 Tie Fighters and one Tie Advanced (the ship Darth Vader flew in the first one). We deployed on opposite ends of board and put the Star Destroyer in the middle.  I had to do either 25 points of damage to the Destroyer, or 12 points to the shield generator on the back of the ship.  

It turns out out that thanks to the distance and the special abilities of the pilots on my side I had pretty much done that before the IMperials got within firing range.  We reset and tried again, this time altering the deployment. The second time was no different and I again managed to down all of the shields before the Imperial Tie Fighters were in range.  We decided to have a cup of tea and think about the problem.

For our third attempt we decided that I would deploy my squadron, and then Ian could deploy his ships in reaction to that, as long as they stayed within short range of the destroyer.  This was a much more balanced game, with my squadron having to fly through the imperial defences. I managed to pull of a win, but only just.  The MIllenium Falcon and Wedge did not survive the engagement though.  A good evenigns entertainment playing a good game.  Made all the better for playing a narrative scenario rather than just duking it out in the middle of the table.

Going back to the Monday before I managed to have a absh at Lion Rampant, the new medieval rules from the same author as Dux Bellorum.  Andy and Dave had already tried the rules the previous week and had decided to make it a but more skirmishy by using one miniature to represent each unit and record the number of hits that you can take before the figure is eliminated. The scenario had Rory and me guarding a caravan of treasure and a few monks, while Andy and Dave were the evil bandits trying to steal it.

The main problem with Lion Rampant os that you have to test to move anything, and if you fail the test you turn immediately stops.  Rry and I are not the luckiets of fellows so quite quickly the two of us sat there in frustration as we kept failing to move out troops, while the wagon we were supposed to be guarding disapeared into the distance. 

I found this game to be extremely frustratin as it wasnt until the later stages of the game that I managed to actually get my troops to move, by which time Andy had pretty much run off with the loot.  There were some very odd things in these rules but the most annoying thing was the inability to move your troops. I am all for the fog of war and a bit of randomness but not to the point where moving a single unit of troops can be ragrded as a success. That is one of the reasons I gave up on Warmaster.  Games like Dux B do this much better, using a random order of activation and random move distances to better simulate the dificulty of controlling your troops in combat, but at least they will move and do something!

Targe on Saturday, but hopefully it will not be too expensive a day out, and then game two of our Necromunda campaign next Monday. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Fire and Manouever

Things are starting to get back to normal at home, sort of, ish.

Ian and I decided to have a game of Chain of Command this week. This would give Ian a chance to use his Americans,  as most of the games that he has played so far have been using the French in early war scenarios.

We rolled for a random scenario and got the delaying action.  In this one the defender has to prevent the attackers from catching a jump off point t one end of the table, with the game being played lengthwise down the long edges.  We also rolled a die to see who would be the attacker, with the Germans making the assault. I also rolled the maximum 10 for support.

The view up the board from the German edge.
I opted to take a pre game barrage, a heavy machine gun, a 2nd Senior officer and a flamethrower team.  Ian opted for an adjutant and a spotter for an off table mortar battery.

The Germans got to kick of the action, with a single squad deployed in the centre to test the American defences. I hoped that the pre game barrage would prevent the Americans from deploying properly, giving me the chance to get up into the central buildings before they managed to get a defensive position set up.  This did not exactly go to plan as Ian's first set of activation dice came up with three sixes, ending the turn and also my pre game barrage.

The start of the German deployment

The view up the table
Ian deployed one squad into the centre and another in a field on my left flank, setting up some very effective firing lines.

I started to advance up my right, and also sent a squad of riflemen up the centre, with the HMG team providing cover.  In a flurry of 6's Ian managed to get three phases in a row, and made a mess of my right flank advance, and inflicted some shock on the rifle squad advancing up the centre.

My advance was going wrong and I had not even fired a shot yet!

The one ray of sunshine in all this was that Ian had called in a mortar barrage, ended the turn before it had landed and when he tried to call it in a second time they were unavailable as they were busy elsewhere.  That was going to make things a bit easier.

In an effort to even things up I deployed my HMG team in the centre where it would have a good line of fire to cover my right flank and also deployed another full squad on my left, catching the Americans in the open and causing some casualties.  After assessing the situation Ian opted to withdraw from his forward position and regroup in the fields behind the ruined buildings.

Americans go to ground

Germans push up the left, while the right flounders.

Americans caught napping.

Annoyingly he left 4 men hiding in a building in the middle of the table, and with no clear line of sight and them sitting on over watch I was unsure about how to root them out.  In the end after a few phases of moving and reshuffling on both sides I obtained a Chain of Command die and used it to deploy the flamethrower in an ambush and roasted the lot of them.

This opened up the table for the advance but alas we had run out of time.  I was late turning up and we had not played the game for a while, which made it slow going.  At the end it was still anyones game and could have easily gone either way. Both forces were relatively intact, and the Americans were in a decent position, but there was also enough cover to let the Germans advance to within close range.

End of game German positions.

End of game American positions
This was an interesting game and a very different experience to my usual games of Chain of Command.  Usually my games are decided by a steady stream of firepower, withe Germans ability to lay down lot of fire with they Machine Guns being the deciding factor.  This game had a lot of manoeuvring and we spent a lot  of time staring at the boards and trying to work out what to do.  On my part I was trying to work out how to get through the American positions and force them to withdraw, while Ian to his credit as soon as he saw his position was compromises he withdrew to stop his force form being outflanked and outgunned. 

A very enjoyable game and very different form our usual fare.  I really enjoyed all the moving for position that went on in this and it made for a very interesting game.