Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Tale of Two Boardgames

Once again TML Towers is mid move.  Since the starting of this blog ive moved 10 times (Jebuss!); the joys of living in rental accommodation in the UK.  My envy of continental cousins with the luxury of indefinite, or even mere 5yr contracts is unbounded.  The Englishman's home may be his castle, but if he rents it he can expect to be usurped by barbarians at any moment.

Consequently though, the mini's, and my other possessions have been boxed up and locked away for a few weeks.  So my most recent visits to the club ended up simply as play whatever boardgame was on offer, as it happens two games of particular relevance to the blog.

First up a small game with big intentions and a big name.

It's an elegantly and economically designed card driven game covering the Roman Civil war betwixt Caesar and Pompey.
Opening dispositions

 I took the role of Pompey, and had control in the East.  My opponent, Andy, Was Caesar, and made straight for Rome.

Rebels in Anatolia
 The game was card influenced, certainly, but the movement and combat mechanics were classically simple.  Tax generation was key to recruitment of troops, which favoured a diversified and dispersed force of arms, whilst individual battles theoretically favoured concentrated troops.  I went with the former tactic, whilst Andy went with the latter.  I found myself with 2-3 times the income, and so could absorb losses in the field far better than my opponent.

It ends with Caesars' death in North Africa
 Thanks to this I was able to pull a political lead, but it was not emphatic until the final turn, when I was able to Bring Caesar to battle and defeat him .  Caesar XL is a clever little game, but one with a small footprint and presumably a low cost.

Despite similar underpinnings, and objectives, quite the opposite would be said of Victory and Glory.

Covering the entirety of the Napoleonic War, at the Grandest of levels, V&G is a huge game.  Truly, unnecessarily large.  This game would work just the same at the size of  Caesar XL.

Early game 
The game plays through three phases of the war using three rounds in each of card driven action.  Each card can be used one of two ways, but is more effective if it thematically matches the players nation - British and Allies, or French.  Cards drive recruitment and shifting alliances but units do not move as such.  Rather they can be assigned to campaigns, where they become locked until the campaign is resolved.  Combat is a strictly numbers affair, but you assign units to the battle blind, with only the knowledge of the number of units an opponent has assigned - not their type or quality - being known at first.
Late game with multiple campaigns on.

Whilst a clever system, this was enormously unbalanced.  The game sought to replicate history first, and be a fair game second.  The cards in play reflect actual historical events in detail and broadly in sequence, but this means that hey also reflect the succession of favourable events leading ultimately to the defeat of Napoleon.  In short, playing as the French it was clear that cards favouring the allies outnumbered French cards 2 or 3 to one.

In effect it felt weighted towards a British victory from the outset.  Whilst the French could easily win battles in the field, this simply did not have enough effect compared to the active diplomacy driven by the cards.

Both games were enjoyable, and one could say that my opinion is biased given I won the former and lost the latter, but if I were to pick one to recommend, it would undoubtedly be Caesar XL.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Crusade against the Tomb Kings

We had a four-hander of Dragon Rampant at the club a couple of weeks back.  Myself, James, Gav and Matt fielded Stygian Undead, Tomb Kings, Elves and Imperial Humans with Halfling allies respectively.

Field of Battle 
Some of James' new TK force

Matt's Dogs of War/Empire troops

Gav's Elven Host

My Conan Undead 
After the initial dispositions I switched to the camera phone for some reason.  So the quality of the pictures goes downhill a little.

The undead opened the attack the most aggressively.

Skeletons in their element

Chariots advance
 On my flank, Ravening Hordes occupied the only reasonable cover available, whilst elite troops of Mummies stalked the Elves.

A column of advance is watched from the columns

However it is all going the Elves way

Chariots come off worst in conflict with the Greatswords

Whilst an Elf Hero chops up my Necromancer
It ended up a one sided affair, with few living casualties to bury, but virtually every skeleton form reduced to dust.  Nevertheless it was an enjoyable little tussle.  


Monday, August 06, 2018


We've played a couple of games of this in the past few months, and they are not a bad set of rules, so long as you don't go overboard with the number of vehicles.

Possibly too many cars!

Definitely too many in one collision.
However, my 'Road Wolf' (AKA Mad Max) styled car gangs thus far lack one element Gaslands readily permits, Guns.  Gaslands as a background is more Death Race 2000, than Mad Max.  Still this was incentive enough to knock up a couple of new vehicles for a new gang.  The Gearheadz:

These were cheap and slightly basic Poundworld models, two in a pack for a quid; but with the addition of aluminium mesh, plasticard, some kitbashed machine-guns and a decent paint job they've come up a treat.  You'd never know.  Also being screwed rather than riveted together, it was easy to disassemble them to strip of paint.

Now to get them into a race...


Sunday, August 05, 2018

Spanish ADC and Camp

On with the Napoleonics, and the contents of the Mantic Terrain Crate.  I have one nominal Spanish General already, but with the expansion of my Spanish forces to 4 Infantry Regiments, 2 Horse and a battery of artillery, I felt it was time for another officer.  To that end I kitbashed the contents of various Perry plastic sets to make a Spanish ADC to General La Pena.

The Dragoon officer body was mated with Hussar legs and a Chasseur head, I greenstuffed in epaulettes on the right shoulder.  There is an image in Haythornthwaite's 'Uniforms of the Peninsular Wars' of almost exactly this uniform, save in a Bicorne, as an ADC to General Auguste La Pena.

 The Priest is also a Perry miniature, from their Crusades range.  Having checked as best I could, the clothing for Spanish rural priests looked much the same in 1800 as it did in 1100, so I felt it checks out.  The religious orders were extraordinarily active in the guerrilla war, Esdaile noting that something like a third of them died in the war against the French.

I also worked on some of the Mantic terrain, specifically some of the tents.   Obviously tents don't require too much work, so long as they look the part.

The Mantic tents are a good size and suitably generic; a good bit larger than the Renedra tents, but they doubtless work together for the purpose of the table.