Wednesday, 30 September 2015

June 565AD

Our Dux B campaign has staklked a bit over the summer, while people disappeared away on Holiday or just decided to enjoy the nicer weather outside.  Things are starting to move again though and this month my British Kingdom of Alt Clut was to be raided by the Scotti of Cenel Loarn, led by Rory.

The random scenario we generated was the watchtower raid, where an isolated British Patrol were trying to get to the safety of a local watchtower, while being chased down by a raiding party with the intent of capturing the patrol leader for ransom.   The patrol consisted of two groups of warriors, one mounted, led by a mounted noble.  The balance of the British forces were deployed round the watchtower, waiting to decide whether they should sally forth or stay put.

As ever with Dux B the deployment was random, with my patrol deploying on the left hand side of the far side of the table, while the Scotti raiders deployed to the flank of them.  This worked out quite well for me as the Scotti were basically behind my patrol rather than in front of them so they would need to spend the game chasing down the patrol with their cavalry, hopefully leaving the slower infantry behind.

Early game and my cavalry patrol legged it as fast as they could, while some of the British moved forward from the watchtower to provide support. The Scotti gave chase, but the terrain and dice were against them and they struggled to catch up.

Some shooting followed with a few casualties on either side but by turn three the British were nearly at the tower.  Rory decided to through caution to the wind and charged his noble raider cavalry into my elite cavalry, and after some dice rolling the British Cavalry were routed while the Raider cavalry withdrew due to shock.
In a last ditch attempt to stop me Rory advance with his other cavalry, only to be mobbed by three groups of levy, commanded by my Lord. Under such numbers there could be only one result and the Raiders were all killed, leaving the British safely in their tower at which point the Scotti decided to withdraw.

Casualties were light on both side, with 2 British dead and 6 Raiders. The 6 was enough to provide and +3 victory to the British though, which was good as it gave me enough income to construct watchtowers in both of my provinces. I suspect next month I am going to be battling some Saxons for control of my kingdom so I am not sure how much use they will be, but we will need to wait and see.  Both the British and Scotti suffered light casualties this month so will be at full strength for July.

Another strange game of Dux B where the victor was decided by the random deployment and not much else.  Any other result of the die and I would have had to fight my way through the entire Scotti force, but this time the random deployment favoured me rather than my opponent.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Land of the Rising Sun

For this week’s game we made a trip to medieval Japan.  John has been running a series of linked games of Daisho at the club, slowly building up a narrative.

This week we had four players:

Me taking the role of the local patrol

Ken with his Mercenary Ronin

Douglas with his peasant rebellion

Greg with his Monks.

We each had our own objective for the game, which the other players did not know about.
The game was set around a sacred grove, which was looked after by a priest.  My objective was to acquire a Sashimono (flag) that was a symbol of a previous peasant rebellion and bring it back to my Lord. 

My band was quite small but well equipped, even including a Horse and my leader was pretty tough.

Early game saw a lot of people making for the centre of the board, with my forces closing as quickly as possible.  There were a few pot shots taken at each other from the other players but they were mostly ineffectual.  

Turn 2 and I decided to be decisive and my Leader on his horse decided to rush into the sacred glade and try and grab the Sashimono, with the rest of my band following up as quickly as they could, while keeping an eye on the monks to my left.   As it turns out the priest guarding the place was some kind of monster so I ended up having to fight him.  


Oh Dear

On the other side of the board the Ronin and the Peasants were starting to come to blows as well, leaving me to fight it out with the guardians while trying to distract the monks.

Turn three got even worse as, angered by the violence in the Sacred Glade a guardian spirit descended on my hapless leader, as well as two peasants, leaving him heavily outnumbered.  He rose to the challenge though, and started to take down his opponents while trying to stay alive.

The Ronin had by this time fully engaged the Peasants and a large fight had kicked off. This resulted in the leader of the peasants being taken out of action. As it turns out this is what the Ronin were here to do and having succeeded in their mission they started to remove themselves from the field.

Getting thoroughly picked on.

Inside the shrine things were getting pretty desperate. My band of soldiers managed to see of a couple of monks, but with my main fighter up to his eyeballs in enemies it was a losing battle.  In as stroke of luck the mighty leader struck down both eth Priest and the Guardian Spirit, proving the he was worthy and carrying the Sashimono, if only he could live long enough to extricate himself from the angry mob that was attacking him!  Alas it was not to be and eventually he was struck from behind by one of the sneaky underhand monks.  Karma is great though as the monk was promptly taken out of the game by a member of the peasant rebellion (another monk as it turns out!), who promptly legged it from the field with the prized flag and symbol of rebellion!

This is getting ridiculous!

Down and out, the rest fighting for the spoils.

A great evenings gaming with everyone trying to achieve their missions.  I felt a bit robbed in the end and thought that the Samurai Leader deserved to get away with thanks to his herculean efforts, but alas it was not to be, mainly as he ended up fighting against pretty much everyone else except the Ronin, who left the table pretty quickly after achieving their objective. At one point it was looking not too bad for me to extricate my leader from combat and run off on my horse but I was unlucky and moved last, making it very difficult.  Still great fun though!

This was my first game playing Daisho, which is based on the In Her Majesties Name rules and I quite enjoyed them.  The main changed that John made were to the activation sequence. Normally you would roll for initiative in a two player game but as there were four players we were drawing random chits each phase to see who got to go first which worked quite well although it made the initiative bonus for having the Leadership skill redundant.  It was still a good evenings gaming and I would really like to have another go sometimes, if for no other reason but to even the score against those monks and peasants!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Wet paint

I've been messing about A bit with a wet pallet and trying some wet blending.  Early results are promising on larger areas, although some of the finer parts of the models are still a bit lacking.    I'll keep bashing away at it and see how I get on.  Nice quick technique though!

Below are a couple of malifaux never born as they are good to practice on being simple models.

And below is Einstein. I have had my eye on him for a while to paint but only recently plucked up the courage to have a go. I am pretty happy with the results and was going to take him up to Targe for the painting competition but as it turns out there is not a category that he can enter.  Ho hum.

Apologies for the terrible photos as usual.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Otherworld Miniatures Game

I haven’t tried to do a review before so thought I would give it a bash.
I got my advance order copy of the Otherworld Skirmish Rules through the post this week.  I ordered the full bundle, including the rulebook, roster pad, tokens and deck of cards. There were also 6 D6 and a couple of pencils as well.
I have not actually had a chance to play the game yet but have had a good look through the rules and will give my first impressions.

The rules are written by the wonderful people from Crooked Dice, who wrote the 7TV rules and their expansions and this game follows the same mechanics.  I have been a fan of 7TV since I bought the rules a few years ago but have never had the time to collect and paint the models that would be required to do the game justice.

As far as the appearance of the book goes it is very pretty. There are lovely full page shots of various models from the Otherworld range of miniatures set in some lovely terrain scattered throughout the book, along with a generous amount of smaller photos.  It makes the book a great showcase for Otherworld’s Miniatures if nothing else.  On top of this there are a lot of line drawings, all of which look a lot like miniatures from the range.
The book itself can be broken down into three sections. The rules, the profiles and stats for all the heroes and monsters and how to play the game including generic scenarios and some specific ones as well, using pre generated bands of monsters/adventurers.
The rules are pretty straight forward, using the action:engine from crooked dice.  The main feature about these rules is the activation system. At the start of the turn you receive a number of action tokens equal to half of the number of models in your force and you have to assign them to models before you do any activations. Certain models have abilities that can increase this, like Leader but basically you are unlikely to get to activate every model in your force every turn.

The game uses a fairly standard profile to represent your models, with Spd for how fast you can move, Defence for how hard you are to hurt, Hits for how many times you can be hurt before that model is out of the game etc etc.  The average stat appears to be about 3 for most things, as having a stat of 3 requires a die roll of 4 or greater to succeed at any tests.

The actions available to a model once activated are fairly straight forward, with each model getting two activations to spend on things such as moving, spell casting, fighting, shooting climbing etc.  Actions are resolved on a test system, with the value of a stat affecting the number required on a D6 to succeed. All pretty simple so far.   On top of the basic profile each miniature can have some special rules, and there are a lot of them, broadly split into several categories such as Equipment (10 foot pole!), Traits (move silently, Pickpocket) or Combat (Dodge, Great Strength).  It is these abilities that set the individual characters apart and they have a very old school D&D feel to them (ten foot pole, thieves’ tools).

The second part of the book covers all the profiles to use in the game, and needless to say they cover the range of miniatures from Otherworld pretty comprehensively, with each model having a cost in Gold Pieces, which is basically point’s value.  These profiles are broken down into Legends (mighty heroes or villains), Companion (2nd tier heroes). These two types come in Good and Evil flavours. In addition to this there is the Minion Manual which covers everything else (hirelings, Humanoids, Monsters, undead Etc.).  

Whenever you play a game you pick forces from this section of the book to an agreed value of Gold Pieces and a lot of these can be modified to suit whatever theme are aiming for in your game.

The third section of the ruled book gives details on how to play and details victory conditions and provides a number of basic scenarios to play. This allows you to play pickup game quite easily by picking a couple of forces and rolling a scenario, but I don’t think that is where the strength of this game lies.  There are three very nice linked scenarios in this section, with each one using a variety of forces to tell a story. It is these three scenarios that show what could be done with this game with a little bit of effort and just sitting reading the book gets me thinking of how I could create a small narrative campaign to use at the club. There are certainly lots of possibilities.

Overall the book is great and I am looking forward to giving it a go.  I think that it will be great for playing themed games and adventures with an old AD&D feel.  The only thing that I think is a weakness is the generic feel to the book, which means that you need to put in a bit of work for your games. However I also think that this is a strength as there is probably less tendency to treat the game as a competition and more of a co-operative affair to tell a good story. In that sense the game feels very much like a RPG rather than a wargame.

It is bit of a shame that Frostgrave came out when it did, as both games are excellent in their own ways, but Frostgrave seems to have garnered the lion’s share of the attention on the various war gaming forums and I have seen very little mention of this game on t’interweb.

I like Frostgrave as well and it benefits from having a basic premise to the game that is easy to get into and can be done with very little work which is great, but as always some elements are straight into working out what are the optimal choices to squeeze the maximum efficiency out of their warband, which I feel is a wasted opportunity. The way these rules are written and presented makes it difficult to do that and naturally steers you towards a more collaborative affair, which is a good thing.

So to sum up, lovely book, nice system that lends itself to RPG style gaming but will probably require some work to get the best out of. 

Photos used in this blog have been borrowed from the Otherworld website as they have better photography skills than I do!