Sunday, March 19, 2017
Returned to my Lion Rampant Feudal English for the first time in a while, I have some space in their storage I can fill, and experience tells me I need some greater flexibility. Consequently I dug out some models that would be simple to work on and add some firepower. Hence, here we have a unit of Marches Bidowers, armed with slings.
No doubt you can see these as the Gripping Beast dark age infantry they are, but there would be little to differentiate the Welsh borders population of 500ad from those of 1200ad, so this is no issue for me. Plus their lord has benevolently issued them with buckler shields, sourced from one of the Perry sets, giving him somewhere to ensure they show his heraldic colours.
Obviously these were a pretty quick job. But I've kept my standards up for the painting and basing. Generally they look acceptable.
Monday, March 13, 2017
Ah, an excuse to push around a whole bunch of soldiers at last. Myself and Paul arranged a game to introduce him to Kings of War: Historical a couple of weeks ago. Looking at what we had handy it was agreed to play my Peloponnesian League (aka: Sparta) against his Caesarian Romans. A slight mismatch chronologically, but less extreme than many and one which I at least was happy with, after all it was still two ancient armies, and neighbours to boot facing one another. In a club where DBMM still sees plenty of action with Han Chinese facing Egyptians, late Imperial Romans or Caroligians on a regular basis, it sat far more comfortably with me.
So one could suppose a timely rebellion of the Greek states, taking the opportunity of Civil war amongst the Romans to reassert their independence, this would be one more problem for Caesar to deal with if he was to become triumphant. Thus my Greeks could take the field against Paul's as yet untried Roman army...
|The Roman centre|
|Skirmishers vs. Artillery|
|Chaldicians lure out the cavalry|
|Roman flanks under pressure|
|The lines close|
|Roman auxiliaries break|
|Then the weak city Hoplites break|
A quick calculation of victory points showed it was essentially a tie at this stage, I had had scored 15 more points against him, barely enough for bragging rights, but had we played a 7th turn, with my chance to reply coming first, the situation on the field would've been dire for Rome. Both his flanks were depleted and turned, and his Legion was reaching a crisis point with more threats than it could respond to, where he had extra utility it still had to wait for the Greek wave to crash against it first before its' chance to reply.
I think nightfall saved Caesar this day.
This was a 2,000 point game of KoW: Historical, and as a club casual game it worked very well. Given the rules were new to Paul he picked it up easily, how sold initially on the relative passivity you experience on the opponents turn he was is something we debated; unlike virtually all other wargaming rules you cannot influence the actions of your opponent at all on their turn, but of course this cuts both ways, and has the advantage of speeding up play. It is something you get used to very quickly I feel, but it is the biggest difference in the rules from their peers.
Overall, KoW in general is a system I will keep coming back to, for its' simplicity and scalability. And anything that lets me get a full sized army into play in a short week-night timeframe is fine by me.
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Despite being very busy, I am getting a fair number of miniatures games in this year, but at the same time I'm doing so alongside a number of board games, something I like to talk about from time to time. Not too often, y'know, this is a wargaming blog really. But then three of the following games at least bear some links to that subject at least, so let's carry on.
Imperial Assault of course is just some 3D terrain away from being a full fledged wargame, after all it does contain a head-to-head skirmish mode. However, here it is another episode of our ongoing campaign, with the players trying to break an imperial agent out of a cell before the Empire can pump him for the information needed.
Fortunately for them, he staggered to freedom, and it was another victory for the Rebellion. In fairness, despite several of the games to date being closely balanced, so far the players have managed to win all of them. The strength of the Imperial Assault campaign system is that it balances very well to the gradual improvement of the characters, indeed a large portion of the cards and upgrades in the game appear specifically there to allow this. The way elements are drip-fed to both player and games master alike are its greatest strengths.
AS a palette cleanser afterwards we had a quick game of Kharnage:
This is not a complex game, it does not take much to explain or understand, but there is just enough subtlety and tactical nuance to be hold an interest for its short duration. The artwork is pretty good to and there are a few nice surprises amongst the card. Overall not a bad little game.
By comparison, Letters from Whitechapel features no combat, and is a far more intellectual exercise.
'Whitechapel' is a one against many game in which a team of detectives attempts to stop Jack The Ripper in his London rampage before his historically recorded 5 victims are taken, and 'he' goes to ground, anonymity and ill-deserved freedom. To this end it operates with the Ripper player using hidden movement to track his route between his victims and his hideout, whilst the detectives control 5 officer pawns attempting to triangulate to his position.
I our game we managed to close in on the Ripper on his fourth kill, and make the arrest, despite him having managed to throw us off the scent of his hideout. We were close enough it turned out, and so in the end his own attempts at cunning placed him where we could not fail to catch him. Whitechapel is a game with a simple premise and straightforward rules, but within that it provides a challenging game.
Finally, and well it was definitely going to happen, and after the investment I can't say I wasn't nervous, I got to test Conan.
And that of course mentions the energy mechanic. On the heroes turn - and they all activate as much or as little as they want at the same time - they spend energy to carry out a variety of actions in any order, even teaming their actions to set up attacks. However energy spent is recouped very slowly, so there is a gradual exhaustion unless a hero rests, doing virtually nothing for the round. But if needed a player can throw it all into one glorious attack, and - for example - kill a mighty serpent with a single mighty blow.
And pleasingly, this all worked really well. Thankfully Conan operates effectively as a game, it is not too hard to learn, despite the initial rulebooks being a little confused in English translation (revised editions are free online), but it offers an engaging and suitably heroic style of play, one that leads naturally to the players generating narrative battles with evil. Within our game alone, Conan operated as a one-man battering ram, whilst his thief ally did much of the searching and his wizard ally supplied the firepower. As the overlord I was able to relish unleashing wave upon wave of troglodyte warriors against them, in a game that takes considerably less time to set up and play than Imperial Assault.
What it however lacks, is any way to string those games together as a campaign, rather each scenario stands alone. This may well suit casual play, and it is understood solutions will follow, but for fans of games like Descent and Heroquest, this may be seen as an omission.
But I for one can't wait to get it to the table again.
Which is a huge relief!