Tuesday, August 15, 2017

All Units Engage (playtest) - The Raid

Thomas (Peabody here!) is a gamer with many irons in the fire. I was fortunate enough to hang out with him recently and get to play test his set of development rules "All Units Engage". Being a longterm active gamer with strong feelings, Thomas has cherry picked his favorite game mechanisms, rejected the ones he doesn't like, and worked like a dog to lean things down to a fast play easy to learn/remember game set. I think he is well on his way.

We played on a 3x3 table with 15mm figs, but the system is scale agnostic. Having never played I was able to quickly get a handle on the turn flow, and even the tactical implications of decisions within 2 turns. There are a whole raft of missions, but they largely divide into balanced (for the competitive minded), asymmetric (for those who aren't bothered by 'fair' fights), and home/away/neutral (which have a fun mechanic when you capture objectives that make you roll on a random tables to gain...or suffer...effects based on whether you are on friendly, neutral, or hostile battle fields. Great stuff for ladder campaigns.

The turn is alternating unit activation. Both players dice off at the top of the turn and suffer modifiers for lost or pinned units. Units have 2 actions (move, fire, aim, unpin, capture objective being the most common) with each action being fully concluded before the next. Reserve fire and movement allow for overwatch/reaction by the enemy. Unit profiles are quite light with move, will, armour and combat ability. Weapons have their own stat line (such as automatic rifle, heavy machine gun, autocannon). Up to 2 Special perks/abilites allow for more chrome/differentiation of unit, and this can be wrapped up in 'theatre special rules' (this allows you to state all your insurgent troops/Viet Cong have some special ability without filling those 2 slots).

The 'Raid' is one of the asymmetric scenarios where some crack troops are racing in and capturing an objective held by second stringers. They are heavily outnumbered and need to grab and go. The victory points definitely favour the defender in any sustained engagement (who need to secure a random objective as well). The scenario probably needs some slight tweaking to unit profiles and/or vp as it's still pretty challenging for the attacker. It's a great scenario for learning the ropes of vehicular combat and air operations (the attackers get some sort of flyer (helicopter/vtol) while the defenders get some sort of light combat car (armoured car/technical/jeep)).

Thomas is very excited about the wide scope that the rules can be used for and I can quite easily see it myself. Combat is pretty bloody but the escalating morale penalties for lost men causes a lot of pins and lost actions instead of single man units charging to their doom. The VP's in this scenario certainly encouraged hunting and killing of units.
My troops die in close combat to veterans

I'm looking forward to following the development of the rules (there's a facebook group), and hopefully get some of my small number of painted figs on the table for short fast games.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

GdC: Battle of Mateitna

Once more back into the fray! Doug (of Dots of Paint) hosted his annual wargaming bash. Once again we were treated to a Guard du Corp mass battle (fast play convention rules set which sounds as though it's getting *very* close to being finalized). We were teased with 'it's a historical battle, but not a napoleonic one'. At least one of our American comrades puzzled it out and Doug briefed us. The battle is Anteitam (spelled backwards as the map is reorientated on the compass).....the french are the confederate defending a town just over the river, which includes a set of fortifications/sunken road, against a much superior force. The russian/prussian force is the union who historically was led by McLellan.....not the most aggressive or daring commander. The troops are activated progressively during the day. I'm not sure if this was due to space limitations to advance, or an intentional 'echelon' type attack, or foolishness (my history on ACW being pretty weak).












 French in the lower right. Defending the corn/wheat fields to the left, and two river crossings on the top.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Guns of Liberty: The battle of Emesar

While the real fight rages inland the cunning Americans send a force to seize the supply lines of the British. A scratch force of red coats moves to secure their lines of communication and a battle quickly brews up between Generals Brewster (Patriots) and Stevenson (British) near the farm of Emesar.




Thursday, May 18, 2017

LONGSTREET: 1st game - 1861 General Stevens grand push


Nate, always a fan of the ACW, was convinced to try out longstreet, a ruleset I've owned for some time but hasn't had an airing yet. We grabbed the stock 1861 forces, flipped for who was the union and confederates, and got to gaming.

General Stevens, a confederate mexican war veteran, has been tasked with driving off the union blocking force of General Brewer (a well connected officer). With complete parity of men and equipment, Stevens has managed to draw off one of the union regiments which will arrive late to the defense of nowheresville.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Perry French Heavy Cavalry



I've had a large number of figs on my painting tray, so progress has been painfully slow. As enfilade (the convention in Olympia in May) approaches, I realized I needed to focus on the most time critical stuff. I managed to finish banging out these guys (which still leaves me with some projects to finish with some celerity).

The Perry's are lovely to assemble and paint. Inconveniently there are 14 in the box, and Doug's convention rules set, General du Corp, uses cavalry in 3's. I therefore have a 2/3's finished base, waiting for another horseman to be pillaged from my next purchase of Perry figs.















Not the best photos, but it's been busy lately. I do have the lovely pink, yellow, and red trim on the Cuirassier , as well as a representative stand of the Carabinier.



I suppose this last shot a decent WIP of how the basing goes.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Murdock's 100 day campaign: Battle for Yvoire

I managed to meet up with David (Murdock's Mauraders) to resolve one of the battles generated in his 100 days campaign. It's day three of the french offensive, and they are seeking to drive across the Boeq river at the crossing by Yvoire. A division of Prussians are defending the town.







The evening before the french had arrived South of the crossing, so both sides are well aware that the other is there. Piquets and out riders report there are french cavalry approaching from the East, already on the North side of the river.  As dawn cracks, the french begin their assault. 




Friday, March 10, 2017

Napoleon's Battles: First game Ru/Au vs It/Sax

Nate has gotten a fire in his belly to play some Napoleon's Battles. He has been steadily working on Austrians and Russians and, at last, we had enough troops to have a go at it (borrowing some italians and saxons as opposing forces). The scenario is that the allied Saxons and Italians are covering the retreat of the French army over a river after fierce fighting at leipzeig. The Russians and Austrians are trying to cut off this route of retreat. 

More after the cut.....

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Star Wars Armada: Game 2

Once again I dropped in on my friend for a game of armada. Since I'm pretty clueless on the game, he has been making balanced forces. This time we played with some of the smaller support ships, and more fighters.

Our mission was to pick up 'intelligence' tokens, with a single nominated ship on each side. We both 'cleverly' hid the tokens in the asteroid fields, and set up for a head to head pass. Garret used a fast blockade runner, while I was hoping to explode him with my Gladiator. Unfortunately I've found the gladiator is a knife fighter that is incredibly tricky to actually get into firing range. Boo.

The rebels had admiral ackbar who adds a sick amount of firepower to all the broadsides, which ended up being pretty punishing over the game.






More after the jump....

Friday, February 17, 2017

Star Wars Armada: first play

Crush the sci fi terrorist!
 I've managed to locate another war gamer locally. A great find of high caliber: he has both sides of numerous games....painted! We met up for a first game of Star Wars armada. I randomly drew the imperials (secretly I was hoping to play the star destroyers).






There's an interesting mission selection mechanic where each player builds three options into their list. The dice off for initiative determines which players choices get used. Having no idea what we were doing we random selected a mission which ended up with the imperials getting to hyperspace jump in one smaller ship and 3 groups of fighters into the middle of the board later in the game.

 This game seems to theme, and reward, the player who can predict what till be happening/needed in the future. 

There are 4 types of commands you order up (roughly damage control, shoot more/better, change speed/turn harder, get more fightyness from your fighters). The big/slow ships have to queue up their orders up to 3 turns in advance.

Firing happens before movement, so you remove a crutch most players don't realize they have where they can move into better range before letting loose with their guns.

 The movement ruler is articulated and ships are allowed certain numbers of 'clicks' of turning each space interval. It's pretty clever and easy to learn to use, but quite restrictive maneuvering wise for the big ships. Very thematic. We both ran into space hazards, and my opponent managed to bumper car his own ships a couple of times.

The ships end up with quite a different flavour. I particularly notice my smaller star destroyer was a pig to move and turn. There's a variety of defensive tokens that each ship gets, which also conveys a difference in how each ship functions in battle (ex nebulon b frigates have 2 evade tokens, whereas the big star destroyer has none). 

I was soundly thrashed by my opponent. I think poor setup (I didn't get my big ship where it was much use, and my small ships ended up directly facing his bruisers), and a failure to capitalize on my hyperspace ambush (I popped in right as everything was flying out of range of my guns) weighed pretty heavily. It also takes a bit of time to grok a new game. 

I'm totally looking forward to getting in some more games, as it has a very cool look, and seems to play reasonably fast.

We figure a bit under 3 hours with 'tournament point value' including rules explanations, occasional rules look ups, & general unfamiliarity (i.e. thinking hard about what to do for each phase, rather than it being fairly obvious what the better options are).  I could easily see this dropping to 2 with a second or third game.


Monday, February 13, 2017

SAGA Crecent and Cross - God will recognize his own

I managed a trip over to Vancouver just in time for the snowpocalypse of 2016. After a day of slushing about with a substandard miniatures carrying solution, I finally arrived in the evening for a game of SAGA with friends.

We played 4 pt warbands, with two of us on each team (8 pts total). The mission was "God will recognize his own" - you only score points for killing in melee, most killing-est team wins, and troops are recycled back onto the board.

Cameron and Jenn led the fanatically hospitaller and crusader forces (including a large group of pilgrim levy). Grace and myself commanded the saracens and mutatawi (including camelry!).

 There was much hilarity as each side some some consistent 'hot' rolling while their opponents couldn't manage to roll dice to save themselves. This, of course, reversed later in the game.

Recycling of troops always gets wacky as suicide squads charge in off the edge of the table to poach off the reduced squads that had killed those same figures the turn before.


The spot lighting was pretty rough for camera work, but I like to think that  the long shadows represent dusk, or a dust storm or something.

While great fun playing, I did have a number of spear and shield injuries. My travel case obviously needs some work to better protect my men from the hostile public transit environment.